EU says social media now better at removing hate speech

BRUSSELS — The European Union says major social media firms have stepped up their efforts to remove hate speech online.

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said that the 2016 code of conduct "works well," with companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter reacting within 24 hours in an average 89 percent of the cases pointed out to them.

The companies remove the content, on average, in 72 percent of the cases. Jourova said she would never require that all flagged content be removed since the fundamental right of freedom of expression needs to be respected too.

EU statistics show that YouTube removed 85.4 percent of the contested content, Facebook 82.4 percent and Twitter 43.5 percent.

Jourova said that, together with the companies, "we found the right approach."

Despite the progress on hate speech, the EU still wants big tech companies to work harder to combat fake news online, particularly ahead of EU parliament elections in May.

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