Diverging responsiveness on reports by trusted flaggers and general users

The sCAN project participated in the fourth monitoring of IT companies’ adherence to the Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online organised by the European Commission between 05 November 2018 and 14 December 2018. During this monitoring, sCAN partners reported 762 cases of illegal online hate speech to the IT companies Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, Dailymotion and Jeuxvidéo. The monitored companies took action in 73% of the cases, by either removing (67%) or geo-blocking (6%) the content.

All participating sCAN organisations have vast experience in monitoring and identifying hate speech online. Against this background, they consider the overall removal rate not satisfactory. Especially the different treatment of reports from general users or organisations having trusted flagger status has to be critically evaluated. As most CSOs do not have the resources to conduct a continuous monitoring of all Social Media platforms, engaging users in the fight against illegal hate speech online is essential to keep users involved and motivated to report illegal content.

SCAN partners agree that while there is an improved effort from social media companies to remove illegal hate speech, monitoring exercises must continue with the support of European institutions in order to maintain and improve results. As users disseminating hate content increasingly moved to closed groups or to other platforms not included in the monitoring exercise, and with the changing discourse among far-right users, as they feel confident to significantly gain influence at the European elections in May 2019, it is clear that new challenges and threats are on the horizon. Continued efforts of monitoring and counter-action are pivotal in ensuring a safe and respectful online space across the EU and beyond.

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