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EU Code of Conduct against illegal hate speech online: results remain positive but progress slows down

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Today the European Commission has released the results of its sixth evaluation of the Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online. The results show a mixed picture as IT companies reviewed 81% of the notifications within 24 hours and removed an average of 62.5% of flagged content.

These 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, a main weakness remains insufficient feedback to users’ notifications. Finally, a novelty in this year’s evaluation is the information provided by IT companies about measures they have taken to counter hate speech, including actions to automatically detect such content.


The sixth evaluation 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 aiming at certain groups was removed. Conversely, in 2020, the respective results were 83,5% and 57.8%.
  • IT companies gave feedback to 60,3% of the notifications received, which is lower than during the previous monitoring exercise (67.1%).
  • In this monitoring exercise, sexual orientation is the most commonly reported ground of hate speech (18,2%) followed by xenophobia (18%) and anti-gypsyism (12.5%).
  • For the first time, the IT companies reported detailed information about measures taken to counter hate speech outside the monitoring exercise, including their actions to automatically detect and remove content.

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