Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft will have to quickly remove ‘racist and xenophobic’ content or face the
The European Union has signed a deal with four of the world’s biggest tech firms which will see “hate speech” deleted from social media in just 24 hours.
Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google have all committed to new rules designed to “ensure that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally”.
All four firms have committed to quickly analyse and remove content involving “public incitement 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”.
Vĕra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said, “ 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 racists 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.”
Eurocrats have insisted the laws are not about stifling freedom of expression, but making sure social media isn’t used to spread extremist messages of hate.
But not everyone is buying this explanation.
Keith Porteus Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, issued a statement condemning the hate speech laws .
He wrote: “The public incitement 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 will create a chilling effect on freedom of expression and will be misused to muzzle it.”
Right-wingers have spent years claiming tech firms have a left-wing bias which shuts out their views.
Social media lit up with anger after the “code of conduct” was unveiled.
On Twitter, one person claimed Brussels was intent on “banning speech we don’t like by calling it hate speech”.
Another tweeter said he’d “rather be living in North Korea than the EU right now.”