Facebook, Twitter, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft have agreed to an EU code of conduct to tackle online hate speech within 24 hours in Europe.
EU governments have been trying in recent months to get social platforms to crack down on rising online racism following the refugee crisis and terror attacks, with some even threatening action against the companies.
As part of the pledge agreed with the European Commission, the web giants will review the majority of valid requests for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to the content if necessary.
They will also strengthen their cooperation with civil society organisations who help flag hateful content when it goes online and promote “counter-narratives” to hate speech.
“The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech. Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalise young people,” EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said.
Germany got Google, Facebook and Twitter to agree to delete hate speech from their websites within 24 hours last year and even launched an investigation into the European head of Facebook over its alleged failure to remove racist hate speech.