(Photo : GettlyImages/ Carl Court ) LinkedIn hate speech

LinkedIn, an employment-oriented online service owned by Microsoft, announced it will take additional steps to remove illegal hate speech from its platform.

The online service formally signed a self-regulatory initiative that seeks to tackle the hate speech issue through a voluntary Code of Conduct.

LinkedIn to Tackle Hate Speech Problem

The European Commission announced in a statement that LinkedIn joined the European Union's Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online, according to US News.

Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders welcomed the professional social media platform's participation in the Code of Conduct and added that the code will remain as an "important tool in the fight against hate speech, including within the framework established by digital services legislation."

Reynders added that he wants more businesses to join in their fight against online hate.

Also Read; Intel Ai 'Bleep' Stops Hate Speech From Occurring in Games

EU's Code of Conduct

In the EU, illegal hate speech means all contents that have racist or xenophobic views, which seeks to incite hatred or violence against groups of people based on the color of their skin, their race, their religion, their sexual orientation, ethnic origin, and more.

The Code of Conduct by the EU started in 2016 when tech giants such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Microsoft all agreed to accelerate takedowns of illegal speech.

Since the Code was implemented, a handful of other tech companies joined in, including TikTok that signed up in October 2020, as reported by TechCrunch.

However, a lot of digital services have not signed up to participate in the movement yet. This is the reason why the Commission is calling for more digital services companies to get on board.

The EU is still in the process of writing hard rules when it comes to illegal content.

In 2020, the Commission proposed broad updates to existing eCommerce rules to bring online laws in line with offline legal requirements, especially in areas such as illegal content and illegal goods.

The EU has also recently adopted legislation on terrorist content takedowns, expected to be added to online platforms in 2022, according to Reuters.

In further public remarks on the hate speech Code, the Commission stated that a fifth monitoring exercise conducted in June 2020 shows that companies reviewed 90% of reported content within 24 hours and only removed 71% of content that was considered illegal hate speech.

The Commission added that it understands the results and called for signatories to redouble their efforts, especially around giving users feedback and approaching transparency around reporting and removing content.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly contributed to pushing lawmakers to think about the complex issue of how to effectively regulate the digital world and accelerate numerous efforts by the European Union. 

Aside from the Code of Conduct on Hate Speech, the EU had campaigned for the Code of Practice on Online Disinformation for years.

The Commission has repeatedly called for platforms to sign up for the disinformation Code to do more to tackle the issue of fake news that is plaguing social media sites, which was rampant during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Related Article: Google, Microsoft, Facebook And Twitter Pledge To Combat Hate Speech Across EU

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Written by Sophie Webster

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