Tech giants pledge to combat hate speech online

Technology and social media giants Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft have promised to start removing hate speech, xenophobia, racism and other means of online abuse and illegal content faster.

They have done so to comply with a code of conduct drafted by the European Union, BBC reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, the companies have pledged to remove such content within 24 hours, as requested by the code of conduct. They will also educate those whose content gets removed, on what (un)acceptable behaviour is. Also, these companies will have to modify their services so that flagging of such content becomes easier to find and use.

In a statement by Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Justice, it was said that such measures were necessary following terrorist attacks across Europe and the rest of the world, as they are often catalysts to such behaviour.

"Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalise young people and racists use to spread violence and hatred," she said. "This agreement is an important step forward to ensure that the internet remains a place of free and democratic expression, where European values and laws are respected.”

According to the BBC, these companies have also said to start working more closely with other groups which monitor and report on the spread of hateful and illegal content. It was said that ‘counter narratives’ will also be created as a counter-measure to those spreading hateful content.

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