Twitter and other social media sites broke hate speech ban in 2022, EU review says

Twitter It took longer to check hateful content and less of it was removed in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to European Union data released on Thursday. The EU figures were published as part of an annual assessment of online platforms’ compliance with the 27-nation bloc’s code of conduct on disinformation.

Twitter it wasn’t alone – most other tech companies that signed up to the voluntary code also scored worse. But the figures could portend trouble for Twitter in complying with tough new EU online rules after owner Elon Musk laid off many of the platform’s 7,500 full-time workers and an untold number of contractors responsible for content moderation and other critical tasks.

The EU report, carried out over six weeks in the spring, found that Twitter evaluated just over half of the notifications it received about illegal hate speech within 24 hours, up from 82% in 2021.

In comparison, the volume of flagged material checked by Facebook within 24 hours fell to 64%, Instagram fell to 56.9% and YouTube to 83.3%. TikTok came in at 92%, the only company to improve.

The percentage of hate speech removed from Twitter after being flagged fell to 45.4% from 49.8% the previous year. TikTok’s takedown rate fell by a quarter to 60%, while Facebook and Instagram saw only small declines. Only YouTube’s takedown rate increased, reaching 90%.

“It is worrying to see a downward trend in the review of alerts related to illegal hate speech from social media platforms,” ​​European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova tweeted. “Online hate speech is a scourge of the digital age and platforms must uphold their commitments.”

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. Emails to several staff members in the company’s European communications team came back as undeliverable.

Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter last month sparked widespread concern that purveyors of lies and misinformation would be allowed to flourish on the site. The billionaire CEO of Teslawho has often expressed his belief that Twitter had become too restrictive, has reinstated suspended accounts, including of former President Donald Trump.

Twitter faces more scrutiny in Europe until the middle of next year, when new EU rules aimed at protecting internet users’ online safety begin to apply to the biggest online platforms. Violations could result in massive fines of up to 6% of a company’s annual global revenue.

France’s online regulator Arcom said it had received a response from Twitter after writing to the company earlier this week saying it was concerned about the effect staff departures would have on “the ability to maintain a safe environment for Twitter users”.

Arcom also asked the company to confirm that it can meet its “legal obligations” to fight online hate speech and that it is committed to implementing the EU’s new online rules. Arcom said it had received a response from Twitter and that will “study their response,” without giving further details.

Tech companies that have signed up to the EU’s disinformation code agree to commit to measures aimed at reducing disinformation and to submit regular reports on whether they keep their promises, although there are few issues of punishment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *