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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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Google Launching New Photo Back up Options For Users in India

Launched in May 2015, Google Photos is a photo sharing and storage service developed by the search-engine giant that gives users free, unlimited storage for their photos

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Google
The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

Google Photos on Monday launched its “Express” back-up feature for users in India. The feature will be available to a small percentage of Google Photos users on Android.

It allows faster back up at reduced resolutions, making it easier to store pictures even with poor or infrequent Wi-Fi availability, the company wrote in a blog post.

“We learned that over a third of the people using Google Photos in India have some photos that hadn’t been backed up in over a month. We want to make sure that our app meets the unique needs of people wherever they are,” the post said.

Google on an Android device. Pixabay

“You will still have the option to choose from the existing back-up options: Original Quality and High Quality,” the post said.

In addition to “Express”, Google will also introduce a new “Data Cap” option for back up to give users more granular daily controls for using cellular data to back up.

Also Read- 4,000 Viewed NZ Mosques Shootings Live, Claims Facebook

The company is slowly releasing the “Express” back-up feature for Google Photos in others countries as well, the post added.

Launched in May 2015, Google Photos is a photo sharing and storage service developed by the search-engine giant that gives users free, unlimited storage for their photos. (IANS)