This Will Help Make Social Media A Safer Place

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Social media isn't always a fun place. Many women and minorities find themselves victims of misogyny, hate speech, and online attacks. Terrorist groups also use it to promote their propaganda and recruit new members.

While we struggle to make headway in regulating these issues in the U.S., trying to figure out where the line between free speech and censorship is, the European Union is taking steps to make the internet a less hateful place. The E.U. passed a code of conduct that Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and YouTube agreed to today. The code requires these companies "to review the majority" of requests for removing illegal hate speech "in less than 24 hours, and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary."

With events such as the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, governments are increasingly aware — and concerned — with how groups, such as ISIS, for instance, can use social media to spread their antagonist propaganda, and recruit new members to their cause. Tech companies have been cooperative with these governments in the past (in identifying and removing ISIS-friendly accounts, for example, or policing racist content), but with this code, expectations are solidly outlined.

"We value civility and free expression, and so our terms of use prohibit advocating violence and hate speech on Microsoft-hosted consumer services," Microsoft Vice President E.U. Government Affairs, John Frank, said in a statement. "Joining the code of conduct reconfirms our commitment to this important issue."

To check on the progress of these measures, regular meetings will take place through the rest of this year, along with a formal assessment at the year's end.

It's good to see these companies taking online threats and attacks seriously. Managing and countering them is no easy feat, but it's one that is desperately important to ensuring our social spheres are a safe place to hang out.
Advertisement

More from Tech

It's become almost second nature for a celeb to have some sort of side hustle. Why just make money acting when you can also release a perfume or found a ...
Remember when dorm drama just meant your roommate eating the last of your Oreos without asking, or talking on the phone too loudly while you were trying ...
Chrissy Teigen, the model turned TV host turned cookbook author, has amassed Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat followings in the millions. The secret to ...
GENERATION STARTUP presents Women In Tech, an episode of an exclusive web series with footage left on the cutting room floor. The feature documentary ...
A Google search for "mooning" pulls up expected results: some news articles about protestors pulling down their pants, and the formal dictionary definition...
Pokémon Go was this year's biggest app sensation. Within 24 hours of its launch, the game became a mega hit and has since seen users walking billions of ...
For the second time this month, earthlings of the Western Hemisphere will experience a special event involving our moon. Earlier this month, we got our ...
(Paid Content) Refinery29 is now on Versy, a messaging and content-sharing app made for busy people like us
If you want to look up information about your favorite celebrities, your first instinct is probably to google them. But depending on who you're curious ...
Complaining today is much easier than it used to be. Lost luggage, bad service, extra charges, broken products — you used to have to put a letter in the ...
It's Google's 18th birthday which means it can finally see all the porn it serves up
Tonight marks the first of three presidential debates between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Because of the debate's close proximity to New...
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) developed a phone app that will assist you in recording and reporting police conduct. The app, Mobile Justice, ...
If you aren't registered to vote, don't panic. As a matter of fact, thanks to Snapchat, you can now do it in just one minute, reports Time. The social-...