Instagram joins hands with European Commission to fight against Hate Speech

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Instagram has climbed aboard the European Union ideology to finish off hate speech. Freedom of speech has its rightful limits. It doesn’t mean that one should start spreading hate speech. In a counter to this, many social networking platforms had revised their policies to curtail the illegal content on their sites.

Now the latest entry is by Instagram who is all willing to help the European Union in its fight against Hate Speech this Friday. A code of conduct was signed by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube a couple of years ago in 2016. This code of conduct was a sign to fight against the hate speech together. Now Instagram, a major social media platform has decided to sign the code too.

Not only Instagram but Google+ was also announced as the latest social platform to sign the code by Vĕra Jourová, who is the European Union Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. The main purpose of the signed code is to limit hate speech by instantly deleting hate speech from their respective sites. This could be made possible since the companies have promised to review most of the content reported to them within a short timespan of a day.

The system was developed in collaboration with the European Union and the social media platforms. This was inevitable since terrorism-related, as well as racist and xenophobic content, was on the rise on these platforms. Therefore, immediate measures had to be taken before it proliferated even further.

Though this code is not a part of European Union Law but rather acts as an Honor Code.

It’s true that the initial speed to process the reported items wasn’t that fast, but now the social media platforms are reviewing 81 percent of the reported content to them within 24 hours of being reported.

According to European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, “Today’s results clearly show that online platforms take seriously their commitment to review notifications and remove illegal hate speech within 24 hours.”

The percentage of hate speech removed by the platforms has increased substantially from 59% to 70% as of now, just within in a span of 8-9 months. This was reported by Vĕra Jourová this Friday at a Brussel Press Conference.

As per  Thomas Myrup Kristensen, Facebook’s managing director of EU affairs in a statement, “The results of the independent tests released by the European Commission today show that our partnership is helping us to operate more quickly, more accurately and precisely at scale,” He further stated, “There is always more we can do tackle hate speech and we are delighted that Instagram is signing up to the Code of Conduct and will take part in the next round of testing.”

Therefore, it is largely apparent that there is still a lot which can be done to tackle hate speech further, as also seconded by Jourová.  There needs to be a proper feedback system to those who actually have the courage to report hate speech. Furthermore, these giants also need to work in conjunction with various Local Law Enforcement Agencies, to reduce if not totally stop, illegal activities on their respective sites.

It is also down to us to keep a strict check on our social media platforms and report hate speech we find to the concerned social media platform at once.

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