Twitter, other social media companies fall behind in removing hate posts in Europe

Twitter, other social media companies fall behind in removing hate posts in Europe

In a report Thursday, regulators said that Twitter and some of its social media competitors fell behind this year in their removal of hateful posts that are illegal in Europe.

The European Union officials said that Twitter removed 45.4% of hate speech posts it was notified about in a sample this year, down from 49.8% in 2021.

According to the report, Twitter performed worse on that metric than any other social media platform, but some of them, including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, fell behind as well compared to the previous year.

The report said that YouTube had improved, removing 90.4% of reported posts, compared to 58.8% a year ago.

The data was collected from March to May, months before tech magnate Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion and began loosening the site's enforcement around hateful posts.

Musk announced on Thursday that he would give an amnesty to accounts that Twitter had previously suspended, and he said that he would loosen enforcement even further.

Musk's policies have put Twitter on a collision course with the E.U. Where hate speech is not protected under the First Amendment in the United States, it does not have the protection against government action in the United States. The Digital Services Act threatens tech companies with fines in the billions of dollars if they don't strictly police their platforms.

The justice commissioner said the latest data could be used in applying the new law.

I called for companies to reverse the downward trend of notice-and-action last year. Reynders said that this has not fully happened yet and companies must step up their commitment in a statement.

Twitter, YouTube and Meta — the parent company of Facebook and Instagram — did not respond immediately to requests for comment on the report, which E.U. On Thanksgiving, officials are released when most U.S. offices are closed.

TikTok said in a statement that the E.U. The research is valuable for sharing knowledge and finding new ways in which we can improve our policies and strengthen our enforcement. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the European Commission, the NGOs and other signatories to keep TikTok a safe, positive and inclusive place for creative expression as we tackle the complex and ever-evolving issue of hate speech. After Musk completed his purchase of Twitter in late October, racist tweets spiked, according to outside researchers.

Musk said that he's focused less on removing hateful posts and more on limiting how often people view such posts to keep them from going viral. In a tweet Wednesday, Musk said that such views, or impressions of hate speech, were down by a third from before he bought the company, and outside researchers have not verified that claim.

The policy was still on its website Thursday because of the ban on posts that promote hateful conduct.

In his four weeks as owner and CEO, Musk has also laid off or fired a large part of the Twitter workforce, and the cuts included people whose job was to watch for content that violated Twitter's rules.

It was reported Wednesday that tensions are brewing between Twitter and the companies that run the two biggest app stores, Apple and Google, which have their own rules about content moderation.

They have worked with 33 civil society organizations and three public bodies to notify tech companies of violations and monitor takedowns.

It is the seventh annual report they have released since 2016.