Some of the world’s largest technology companies have agreed to new EU regulations that mean they will have to take down hate speech within 24 hours of it being posted to their platforms.
Of course, the comments will only be removed if they breach they are indeed actual hate speech, rather than a generally repugnant opinion. The move is also designed to curb the spread of terrorist propaganda online by ensuring that all comments are reviewed within a day of being flagged.
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 radicalise young people and racist use to spread violence and hatred. 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.
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The agreement is also the first step towards bringing in a standardized policy and response to illegal hate speech and propaganda across EU nations.
Facebook and Twitter are in a particularly tricky spot – balancing the demands of the EU against complaints against free speech has never been an easy space to occupy.