European officials have long warned Facebook to clean up its act when it comes to regulating hate speech and offensive content. Now it seems as though those officials have lost their patience—the European Union has issued a set of guidelines for Facebook, Google, Twitter and other tech companies to abide by, and if they don’t, the EU could pass legislation.
If the EU was to pass laws regulating Facebook and other tech companies, it could lead to massive fines (and PR headaches) for the site. And the European officials seem to be very serious about the threat, detailing the regulations in no uncertain terms. Vera Jourova, the European Commissioner for Justice and Consumer Affairs, said she deleted her own Facebook following the surge of hate speech.
“When we started discussing the future code of conduct, I first met Facebook managers here and I told them I had just cancelled my Facebook account because it was the highway for hatred, and I am not willing to support it,” Jourova said. “[Hate speech] can lead to concrete violence against concrete people in real life and we must not tolerate it.”
European countries have always taken Facebook’s privacy issues more seriously than we do here in the States. There’s no doubt we could take a page or two from their playbook when it comes to protecting our own digital rights.