EU Commission: Great Headway in Fight Against Online Hate Speech

Der Standard (Online), APA, June 1, 2017

German original:


The EU Commission sees great headway in the fight against online hate speech. The second examination of a joint initiative with IT – giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google shows that the deletion rate of such hate speech in social media by the IT companies did rise (and more than doubled) from 28% to 59%.

76.1 percent

In particular, Austria observed an increase of 11.4% between the time of the first examination at the end of 2016 to 76.1% today. The strongest relative increase during that same timeframe was seen in Denmark (from 3.4% to 38.9%). The investigation for the second examination, presented on Thursday by EU Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova, was performed in 24 EU member states. Not among those surveyed were Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden and Bulgaria. Comparisons are further complicated by the fact that only ten member states participated in the first examination a year earlier.


Highest Deletion Rate in Hungary

Ranked by deletion rate, Hungary takes the top spot in deletion of hate speech.

Hungary – 94-5%
Latvia – 90.9%
Cyprus – 84.8
France – 82.0
Italy – 81.7
Estonia – 81.8
Germany – 80.1
Austria – 76.1
Greece – 71.4
Slovakia – 71.4
Poland – 60.3
Slovenia – 56.8
Romania – 53.3
Belgium – 51.2
Check Republic – 46.5
Great Britain – 39.3
Denmark – 38.9
Croatia – 33.6
Malta – 33.3
The Netherlands – 29.5
Portugal – 21.0
Ireland – 20.0
Spain – 17.2


Facebook Deletes More

Among the IT companies, Facebook sticks out. While the company deleted only 28.3% of hate speech in 2016, that number has increased to 66.5% in the second examination, presented by Jourova. Twitter increased its deletion rate from 19.1% to 37.5%, and YouTube increased its deletion rate from 48.5% to 66%.


IT Companies React Faster

Jourova spoke of encouraging results. Not only have the IT companies deleted twice as much hate speech and agitation, but they also did it a lot quicker than before. “This shows that a self-regulatory approach can work if all participants do their jobs.” She called on businesses to undertake more efforts. In particular, IT companies should provide better feedback to those who pressed charges because of hate speech. It has been shown that Facebook acts in an exemplary fashion with a feedback ratio of 93.7%, while the same ratio only amounts to 32.8% at Twitter and to 20.7% at YouTube.


Hate Speech

The investigation of the particular content of hate speech has shown that xenophobia, including agitation against migrants, makes up the largest proportion with 17.8%. Anti-Muslim hate speech is ranked second with 17.7%, followed by ethnicity (15.8%), sexual orientation (12.7%), origin (9.1%) and Antisemitism (8.7%).