Over the last 24 hours, YouTube and joined forces with Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft in a bid to end online hate speech across Europe by signing a brand new code of conduct. This “public commitment” to combatting the consistent and seemingly endless barrage of hatred and trolling some users experience on their platforms will come into place immediately, even if there are still some grey areas to address…
The brand new code refers to “all conduct publicly inciting the violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of a such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin”. However, a professor from the University of East Anglia has since responded to this code of conduct stating that this new agreement directly ignores a large majority of other groups such as “gays, lesbians, people with disabilities, women and people with transgender identities” – surely their online protection is implicit in the code and does not need to be directly stated? Would YouTube really ignore online hate speech directed at people just because they are disabled?!
In signing the code of conduct against hate speech, the four huge social media giants have agreed to put and end to inflammatory behaviour within 24 hours of receiving a review. The plan is for relevant cases to be reported, removed or disabled within a day if they are deemed inappropriate, but in particular, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft must ensure that their processes of reviewing hate speech are made much clearer to their users.
Karen White, Twitter’s European public policy chief, shared her views on the new code of conduct; “Hateful conduct has no place on Twitter and we will continue to tackle this issue head on alongside our partners in industry and civil society. we remain committed to letting the tweets flow. However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate”. Do you agree?
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