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 11 - 20 of 29


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Distribution of Roma Feeling Discriminated Against When Looking for Work in the Five Years Before the Survey (2016)

The chart shows the percentages of Roma who felt discriminated against when looking for work, during the reference period 2011 to 2016 in nine European Union member states. The European Union refers to EU28. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020.
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Feedback Provided by Online Platforms to Different Types of User (2019)

This chart shows the per cent of feedback provided by online platforms to different types of users (general user or trusted flagger/reporter). The results are based on data reported by social media platforms participating in the European Commission's Code of conduct. The data shows that platforms have higher rates of providing feedback to trusted flaggers compared to the ones to the general users, with differences varying between 4.6% (Facebook) and 46.3% (Twitter). One of the European Commission's conclusions included in the fifth monitoring exercice is that online platforms must improve their feedback to users'notifications.
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Feedback Provided to Different Types of User by Social Media Platforms

The chart shows the percent of users who reported posts who received feedback regarding their report on various social media platforms. Facebook was most likely to provide feedback to normal users and to trusted flaggers. All of the platforms were more likely to provide feedback to trusted flaggers than to normal users.
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Grounds of Hatred Reported by Social Media Platforms

The chart shows the grounds of hatred reported for reviewed posts, based on data reported by social media platforms participating in the European Commission's Code of conduct. Xenophobia and sexual orientation were the most common grounds for hatred, while gender identity and afrophobia were the least common grounds for hatred.
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Grounds of Hatred Reported by Social Media Platforms (2019)

The chart shows the grounds of hatred reported for reviewed posts, based on data reported by social media platforms participating in the European Commission's Code of conduct. Sexual orientation and xenophobia were the most common grounds for hatred, while religion, race and national origin were the least common grounds for hatred.
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Harassment Experienced Due to Roma Background

The chart presents the shares of Roma respondents that have experienced some form of harassment due to their ethnic origin in the 12 months before the survey. The results show that, in 2016, almost every third Roma survey respondent (31% of men and 29% of women) believed that they had experienced, at least once, some form of ethnic-based harassment during the previous year.
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Percentage of Content Found by Facebook as Containing Hate Speech Compared to the Content Reported by the Users

This chart shows the percentage of content found by Facebook as containing hate speech compared to the content reported by the users. The percentage of content found by Facebook has significantly increased compared to the one reported by users which has decreased.
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Perception of Antisemitism in Eight European Union Member States

The chart illustrates the perception respondents from eight European Union member states about the antisemitism seen as a problem. European Union refers to EU28. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. The results show that antisemitism is seen as a very big problem in France and Hungary and not a very big problem in United Kingdom and Latvia.
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Perceptions of changes in the level of expressions of antisemitism on the internet in the country over the past five years, by EU Member State

This chart shows the difference in perceptions of changes in the level of antisemitism on the internet from 2013 to 2018. Respondents in both 2013 and 2018 were asked if "over the past five years, has antisemitism on the internet, including on social media, increased, stayed the same or decreased." The amounts recorded show the percentage who answered "increased a lot" and increased a little." The most dramatic changes in perceptions occured in Germany (+23) and the United Kingdom (+21), and the only country who recorded a decrease in perceived antisemitism online was Hungary.
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Perceptions on Changes in the Level of Antisemitism over the Past Five Years, Across Eight European Union Member States

The chart presents the perception on proliferation of antisemitism within eight European Union member states, between 2008-2013. The results show that while in France for 74% respondents this perception increased a lot, in as Latvia, the majority of respondents (44%) considered that it stayed the same.