Microsoft-owned LinkedIn has committed to doing more to quickly purge illegal hate speech from its platform in the European Union by formally signing up to a self-regulatory initiative that seeks to tackle the issue through a voluntary Code of Conduct.

The European Commission announced that the professional social network has joined the EU’s Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online, with justice commissioner, Didier Reynders, welcoming LinkedIn’s (albeit tardy) participation, TechCrunch reported.

As explained by the social media network on their blogpost,

“LinkedIn is a place for professional conversations where people come to connect, learn and find new opportunities. Given the current economic climate and the increased reliance jobseekers and professionals everywhere are placing on LinkedIn, our responsibility is to help create safe experiences for our members. We couldn’t be clearer that hate speech is not tolerated on our platform. LinkedIn is a strong part of our members’ professional identities for the entirety of their career — it can be seen by their employer, colleagues and potential business partners.”
The EU code, set by the European Commission five years ago, also supports Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Dailymotion, and Tiktok.

Companies that sign up for the code must have rules and community standards that prohibit hate speech on their platforms, and a system and team to review such flagged content. You also need to take immediate steps to remove the content.

The initiative kicked off back in 2016 — when a handful of tech giants (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft) agreed to accelerate takedowns of illegal speech (or well, attach their brand names to the PR opportunity associated with saying they would).

Since the Code became operational, a handful of other tech platforms have joined — with video sharing platform TikTok signing up last October, for example.

In the EU aillegal hate speech’ can mean content that espouses racist or xenophobic views, or which seeks to incite violence or hatred against groups of people because of their race, skin colour, religion or ethnic origin, etc.

Several Member States have national laws on the issue — and some have passed their own legislation specifically targeted at the digital sphere. So the EU Code is supplementary to any actual hate speech legislation. It is also non-legally binding.

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