Index on Censorship condemned the agreement between the European Commission and tech firms Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft to tackle hate speech online.
“Hate speech laws are already too broad and ambiguous in much of Europe,” said Index on Censorship chief executive Jodie Ginsberg. “This agreement fails to properly define what ‘illegal hate speech’ is and does not provide sufficient safeguards for freedom of expression.
“The agreement once again devolves power to unelected corporations to determine what amounts to hate speech and police it – a move that is guaranteed to stifle free speech in the mistaken belief this will make us all safer. It won’t. It will simply drive unpalatable ideas and opinions underground where they are harder to police – or to challenge.
“There have been precedents of content removal for unpopular or offensive viewpoints and this agreement risks amplifying the phenomenon of deleting controversial – yet legal – content via misuse or abuse of the notification processes.”