EU presents progress on countering illegal hate speech online

IT companies provide a swift response to racist and xenophobic hate speech content notified to them

Photo: EPA Vice President of Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip

The fourth evaluation on the EU Code of Conduct confirms that the European Commission's initiative on tackling illegal hate speech online delivers successful results and that a way faster response to racist and xenophobic hate speech content notified is being provided.

According to the results, published today IT companies are now assessing 89% of flagged content within 24 hours and 72% of the content deemed to be illegal hate speech is removed, compared to 40% and 28% respectively when the Code was first launched in 2016. Furthermore, companies remove illegal content more and more rapidly, but this does not lead to over-removal: the removal rate indicates that the review made by the companies continues to respect freedom of expression.

"Today's evaluation shows that cooperation with companies and civil society brings results. Companies are now assessing 89% of flagged content within 24 hours, and promptly act to remove it when necessary. This is more than twice as much as compared to 2016. More importantly, the Code works because it respects freedom of expression. The internet is a place people go to share their views and find out information at the click of a button. Nobody should feel unsafe or threatened due to illegal hateful content remaining online," Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market commented.

Yet, the Commission states that companies still need to improve their feedback to the users notifying content and provide more transparency on notices and removals. 

While presenting the most recent evaluation results, EC also announced that four new companies have decided to join the Code in the course of 2018: Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, Dailymotion. The French gaming platform Webedia ( has also announced their participation today. 

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