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How Social Media is combating Hate Speech

In today's fast-paced, tech-savvy society, it’s almost impossible to think of a life without a smartphone that allows you to stay connected with the world 24x7.

In today’s fast-paced, tech-savvy society, it’s almost impossible to think of a life without a smartphone that allows you to stay connected with the world 24×7. A Pew Research survey found that out of the 77% of the Americans who own a smartphone, a vast majority spend an average of 5 hours a day—almost double the amount of time from 2013—scrolling through their Instagram feed, calling/texting their friends, and playing games, among other activities. 

Pretty much every piece of content you consume online, especially on social media, subconsciously influences your opinion on a certain topic. While the debate on the importance of social media continues—whether it’s a boon or a bane—platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are currently reforming their policies to combat “hate speech” or inflammatory content that attacks a specific group of people and/or encourages violence. 

Time and again, people have exploited the right to freedom of speech to post content that falls under this category, including, political propaganda and false new that’s meant to sway the public opinion. Additionally, bigoted groups of reactionaries indulging in sexism, racism, and xenophobia online also contributes to hate speech, as their content is fully capable of making the average person feel unsafe. 

In order to curb the rise in hate speech across social media platforms, companies have started monitoring their flagged content closely. 89% of the flagged content (roughly 9 out of 10 posts) is assessed within 24 hours. 72% loses existence when reported as illegal hate speech. More steadily in Europe, there has been a special force assigned to regulate the flagged content. 

“In May 2016, I initiated the code of conduct on online hate speech, because we urgently needed to do something about this phenomenon,” said Vĕra Jourová, European commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality. “Today, after two and a half years, we can say that we found the right approach and established a standard throughout Europe on how to tackle this serious issue, while fully protecting freedom of speech.”

Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Microsoft were forced to comply by laws of Hate Speech and trim the wrong content, failure of which will incur punishment.  A feedback report is also delivered to people who flag content that counts as hate speech. EU submits satisfaction with the implementation of new policies and code of conduct. However, social media still strives to meet the right standards of feedback to its recipient.

Broadly, Facebook is acing the race in combating Hate Speech against other platforms. 93% of the flagged Hate Speech is sent for treatment within 24 hours of its reception. 

Youtube also takes pride in resolving and removing content. In fact, it has removed 85% of content as opposed to 82% of Facebook. The only setback Youtube has faced is having an interactive solution while solving the grievance. The follow-up feedback has catered to only 25% of the flagged content. 

Twitter is battling it out well too, with over 88% of content being tackled on the same day. However, Twitter is lagging when it comes to barring the published content. Only 43% of the content was reported removed on account of Hate Speech standing midget to its opponents. 

With defined rules in play and boundaries to adhere to, the wrong content is shown exit immediately. The needle turns down to the users on social media. Type and Post may barely take a minute, the aftermath of which is for all of us to share. It’s time we stopped putting boxes on people or clubbing them under a tag. Our differences should not be the point of conflict, and love is a better language to speak in. 


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