Tech titans such as Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and YouTube have agreed to comply with new EU regulations that require them to review online hate speech within 24 hours of reporting.
The move comes in the wake of the dastardly terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris. The new rules also aim to make amends to the recent inroads made by terrorist organizations such as Islamic State in propagating their hate content via social channels.
As part of the obligations, the companies have agreed to extend support to all civil society organizations that help to flag hate content. They won’t just stop at that as the companies will also promote what is being termed as counter narratives aimed to educate people about the dangers that organizations like Islamic State poses and the manner in which they drive a wedge between civil societies.
“The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech. Social media is, unfortunately, one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalize young people,” EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said.
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The rapid rise of the Islamic State, the war in Syria along with other middle-eastern nations and the massive influx of refugees in the European Union, has created racial strife in different parts, prompting authorities to seek remedial measures. With those propagating terror turning to social media as an easy means to radicalize youths, the authorities too have decided to launch counter-strikes via the same medium.
However, no matter how noble the above intentions might seem to be, online rights groups have resented strongly to the new EU regulations claiming those seek to curb their right to free speech.
Facebook, in particular, had run into a few issues in the past in Germany regarding the manner it dealt with far-right hate speech. Though the company is past it all, they have reaffirmed their commitment to tackling hate speech. The same applies to the other such as Google, Twitter and Microsoft all of whom have pledged their support for the free flow of information while blocking those content that seeks to spread hatred.