Twitter, others slip on hate speech removal, EU review says : Post idaho

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A sign at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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Twitter took more time to check for hateful content and removed less content in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to European Union data published on Thursday.

The EU figures were released as part of the annual assessment of online platforms’ compliance with the B27 code of conduct on disinformation.

Twitter wasn’t alone – most of the other tech companies that signed up to the voluntary code also underperformed. But the numbers could herald Twitter’s trouble with complying with tough new EU internet rules after owner Elon Musk laid off many of the platform’s 7,500 full-time employees and countless contractors responsible for content moderation and other key tasks.

An EU report, conducted over six weeks in the spring, found that Twitter evaluated just over half of the illegal hate speech notifications it received within 24 hours, down from 82% in 2021 to 82% in 2021.

By comparison, the amount of flagged content Facebook viewed in 24 hours fell to 64%, Instagram to 56.9%, and YouTube to 83.3%. TikTok reached 92%, being the only company to improve.

The amount of hate speech removed from Twitter after it was flagged fell to 45.4% from 49.8% a year earlier. TikTok’s removal rate fell by a quarter to 60%, while Facebook and Instagram saw only slight declines. Only the removal rate on YouTube has increased, which has increased to 90%.

“It is worrying to see a downward trend in the viewing of illegal hate speech notifications by social media platforms,” ​​European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova tweeted. “Online hate speech is a scourge of the digital age and platforms need to live up to their responsibilities.”

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. Emails to several employees of the company’s European communications team were bounced as undeliverable.

Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter last month sparked widespread fears that purveyors of lies and misinformation could flourish on the site. The billionaire CEO of Tesla, who has often expressed his belief that Twitter has become too restrictive, is reinstating suspended accounts, including those of former President Donald Trump.

Twitter will come under greater scrutiny in Europe by mid-next year when new EU rules designed to protect internet users’ safety take effect on major online platforms. Violations can result in hefty fines of up to 6% of a company’s annual global revenue.

French internet regulator Arcom said it received a response from Twitter after writing to the company earlier this week that it was concerned about the impact employee departures would have on Twitter’s “ability to maintain a safe environment for users”.

Arcom also asked the company to confirm that it is able to fulfill its “legal obligations” to fight online hate speech and that it is committed to implementing the new EU internet rules. Arcom said it received a response from Twitter and that it would “review her response,” without giving further details.

Tech companies that have signed the EU Disinformation Code agree to commit to actions to reduce disinformation and report regularly on whether they keep their promises, though there are few penalties.

This story was originally published November 24, 2022 10:09.

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