Insights European Commission publishes results of its sixth monitoring exercise of the Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online

The Commission says that the results from this sixth assessment show a mixed picture: IT companies reviewed 81% of notifications within 24 hours and removed an average of 62.5% of flagged content.

The results are lower than the average recorded in 2019 and 2020. While some companies have improved, results for others have clearly worsened. As in previous monitoring rounds, one of the main weaknesses is still insufficient feedback to users’ notifications.

The assessment shows that on average:

  • IT companies assessed 81% of the notifications in less than 24 hours, which is lower than the 2020’s average of 90.4%;
  • IT companies removed 62.5% of the content notified to them, which is lower than the average of 71% recorded in 2019 and 2020;
  • removal rates varied depending on the severity of hateful content; 69% of content calling for murder or violence against specific groups was removed, while 55% of the content using defamatory words or pictures directed at certain groups was removed; in 2020, the respective results were 83.5% and 57.8%;
  • IT companies gave feedback on 60.3% of the notifications received, which is lower than during the previous monitoring exercise (67.1%);
  • sexual orientation was the most commonly reported ground of hate speech (18.2%) followed by xenophobia (18%) and anti-gypsyism (12.5%); and
  • for the first time, IT companies reported detailed information about measures taken to counter hate speech outside the monitoring exercise, including actions to automatically detect and remove content.

The Commission calls on IT companies to reinforce their dialogue with trusted flaggers and civil society organisations to address gaps in their review of notifications by taking action and improving feedback to users. To read the Commission’s press release in full, click here.