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Social Media Companies Accelerating To Remove Online Hate Speech

A law providing for hefty fines for social media companies if they do not remove

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Facebook
Facebook faces $1.63 bn in EU fine over fresh data breach. VOA

Social media companies Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube have greatly accelerated their removals of online hate speech, reviewing over two thirds of complaints within 24 hours, new EU figures show.

The European Union has piled pressure on social media firms to increase their efforts to fight the proliferation of extremist content and hate speech on their platforms, even threatening them with legislation.

Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube signed a code of conduct with the EU in May 2016 to review most complaints within a 24-hour timeframe.

The companies managed to meet that target in 81 percent of cases, EU figures seen by Reuters show, compared with 51 percent in May 2017 when the European Commission last monitored their compliance with the code of conduct.

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has said previously she does not want to see a removal rate of 100 percent as that could impinge on free speech. She has also said she is not in favor of legislating as Germany has done.

Social Media Companies Accelerating To Remove Online Hate Speech
Social Media Companies Accelerating To Remove Online Hate Speech, VOA

A law providing for hefty fines for social media companies if they do not remove hate speech quickly enough went into force in Germany this year.

“I do not hide that I am not in favor of hard regulation because the freedom of speech for me is almost absolute,” Jourova told reporters in December.

“In case of doubt it should remain online because freedom of expression is [in a] privileged position.”

Of the hate speech flagged to the companies, almost half of it was found on Facebook, the figures show, while 24 percent was on YouTube and 26 percent on Twitter.

The most common ground for hatred identified by the Commission was ethnic origins, followed by anti-Muslim hatred and xenophobia, including expressions of hatred against migrants and refugees.

Following pressure from several European governments, social media companies stepped up their efforts to tackle extremist content online, including through the use of artificial intelligence.

The Twitter app is seen on a mobile phone in Philadelphia, April 26, 2017
The Twitter app is seen on a mobile phone in Philadelphia, April 26, 2017, VOA

Also read: Social media use may affect teenagers’ real life relationship

The Commission will likely issue a recommendation, a soft law instrument, on how companies should take down extremist content related to militant groups at the end of February, an official said, as it is less nuanced than hate speech and needs to be taken offline more quickly. (VOA)

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Social Media Giants Facebook, Twitter Face Action From Russia Over Legal Violations

After no responses, the agency said that "Roskomnadzor begins administrative proceedings against both companies", reported The Wall Street Journal

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Facebook, data, vietnam
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

Accusing Facebook and Twitter of defying the law of the land, the Russian government has opened legal proceedings against the social media giants for not complying to local data protection laws.

According to a report in RT.com late Monday, Roskomnadzor, the Russian censorship agency, said that Facebook and Twitter failed to comply with a law requiring all servers that store personal data to be located in the country.

“The tech giants instead handed ‘formal answers’ to the authorities’ previous inquiries. The agency also pledged to take legal action against the internet companies,” said the report.

Russian privacy laws require foreign online service providers to store users’ personal data on servers located within the country.

Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“Facebook and Twitter are reportedly negotiating the issue with Russian authorities, as the companies have not yet moved their servers to Russia,” added the report.

Roskomnadzor sent letters to Facebook and Twitter on December 17, giving them 30 days to provide “a legally valid response”.

Also Read- The Great U.S. Government Shutdown

After no responses, the agency said that “Roskomnadzor begins administrative proceedings against both companies”, reported The Wall Street Journal. (IANS)