Hate Speech

The European approach to regulating and moderating the spread of hate speech online represents an interesting experiment in public-private collaboration.

A triad of normally unaffiliated institutions sit at the middle of this effort. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – particularly organisations with a background in promoting tolerance and fighting discrimination – are empowered to follow what happens on the platforms and "notify" content which they believe constitutes illegal hate speech. The platforms, in turn, evaluate 1) the notifications, 2) the local laws of the countries where a particular piece of content appears, and 3) their own community standards and guidelines. Based on that assessment, they decide if the content should be allowed to stay or taken down. Later the NGOs produce a report evaluating how much of the content they notified was taken down. The European Commission sits in the middle of the process – facilitating communication among the parties and providing periodic assessments of how much hate speech is slipping through despite the effort.

The unusual collaboration grew from equally unusual roots. Rather than imposing regulation, the European Commission encouraged platforms and NGOs to work together on this. Together, the three parties drew up a code of conduct on countering hate speech online (2016). To date, Dailymotion, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, Jeuxvideo, Microsoft, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube have all signed on. Periodic assessments – fed by national NGO reports – have judged progress. You can find out more about this remarkable experiment on the European Commission code of conduct web page. Evidence from the monitoring exercise appears below as well.

The code itself draws on a definition laid down in the European Union’s framework decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law (2008). It defines hate speech as "all conduct publicly inciting to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin, when carried out by the public dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material; Publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes […], when the conduct is carried out in a manner likely to incite violence or hatred against such a group or a member of such a group."

More information about hate speech and the effort to regulate it is available on the World Intermediary Liability Map (WILMap), led by the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

Records 1 - 10 of 29


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Assessment of Manifestations of Anti-Semitism Against Jewish Community (Average of Selected European Union Member States)

The chart illustrates the assessment of respondents to the various acts of anti-Semitism against the Jewish community in 2013, at the level of the countries surveyed (eight European Union member states). European Union refers to EU28. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Among the specific manifestations, three quarters of all respondents (75%) consider the online antisemitism as a particular problem (either "a very big" or a "fairly big problem").
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Assessment of Manifestations of Anti-Semitism Against Jewish Community Across European Union Countries

The table presents the share of respondents from eight European Union member states that assessed as a problem different manifestations of anti-Semitism against Jewish community in 2013. European Union refers to EU28. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. The results show that more than half of the respondents in each country surveyed consider "antisemitism on the internet" as being a problem. For each country, the three most serious manifestations of antisemitism - as assessed by the respondents, are antisemitism on the Internet, in the media and expression of hostility towards Jews in the streets or other public places. The question asked was "In your opinion, how big a problem, if at all, are each of the following in [COUNTRY] today?" Answers include both "a very big problem" and "a fairly big problem." The items are listed in descending order according to the average of the eight countries.
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Awareness of a Law That Forbids Discrimination Based on Skin Colour, Ethnic Origin or Religion in Nine European Union Member States (2016)

The chart shows the level of awareness of Roma communities about a law that forbids discrimination based on skin colour, ethnic origin or religion in nine European Union member states, in 2016. European Union refes to EU28. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. The results show that, on average, only slightly more than one in three Roma women (34 %) and men (38 %) are aware of the existence of such antidiscrimination legislation in their country.
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Distribution of Hate Speech Complains Across All Platforms (2018)

The chart shows the locations of complaints about hate speech on online platforms based on data collected by International Network Against Cyberhate (INACH). The INACH's report found that most instances of hate speech reported in user complaints are located on Facebook, traditional websites, Twitter, or YouTube.
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Distribution of Hate Speech Complains Across Web 1.0 Platforms (2018)

The chart shows the distribution of hate speech complaints on Web 1.0 platforms based on data collected by the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH). INACH's 2018 report found that the majority (almost three quarters) of all complaints of hate speech were registered on websites (Web 1.0 platforms), followed by forums and blogs.
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Distribution of Hate Speech Complains Across Web 2.0 Platforms (2018)

The chart presents the distribution of hate speech complaints on Web 2.0 platforms based on data collected by the International Network Against Cyber Hate. The 2018 report found that, when it comes to social media platforms, three major players give the biggest surface to cyber hate and extremist propaganda, accounting for more than 80% of all complaints of hate speech - Facebook (40%), Twitter (21.7%) and YouTube (21.2%).
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Distribution of Hate Speech Content Removal Across the Online Platforms (2018)

The chart presents the distribution of hate speech content removal by the online platforms based on data collected by International Network Against Cyber Hate. The 2018 report found that Instagram and Forums (as a whole) were most likely to remove the flagged content, while Google+ was by far least likely to do so.
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Distribution of Online Complaints Per Hate Type

This chart shows the distribution of complaints about hate speech online based on data collected by International Network Against Cyberhate (INACH). INACH's 2018 report, "The State of Cyber Hate," found that the most common types of hate speech reported in user complaints are Racism and Antisemitism. The least common types of hate speech are Anti-Ziganism and anti-religious hate for religions other than Islam.
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Distribution of Respondents Hearing or Seeing the Selected Statements Made by non-Jewish People in Surveyed European Union Member States (2013)

This table shows the percentage of respondents who have heard or seen the selected statements made by non-Jewish people, by European Union country. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Answers included in the survey are both "all the time" and "frequently".
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Distribution of Respondents Seeing Antisemitic Comments as a Problem in Different Arenas Based On What They Have Seen or Heard in Surveyed European Union Member States (2013)

The table shows the distribution of respondents (as percent) who see antisemitic comments as a problem in different arenas based on what they have seen or heard in the surveyed European Union member states. The European Union refers to EU28. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020.