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Facebook urged to do more against hate speech

This file photo taken on November 21, 2016 shows Facebook logos on the screens of a smartphone (R), and a laptop computer, in central London. (AFP)

ROME: Facebook must do much more to stamp out hate speech on its site, the president of Italy’s Parliament said, warning that rising abuse on various social media was being fueled by fake news.
Laura Boldrini, herself often the focus of sexist insults and online threats, complained to Facebook managers in November about hate speech on the social network and put forward several proposals on ways to deal with the problem.
“Two months after our meeting, they have done nothing. They have not even written to me about what I said. Good manners would have expected at least a reply,” Boldrini told Reuters in a gilded, art-filled room in the Parliament building.
She said she would write an open letter to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week reiterating her call for a more effective and timely policing of his site.
“His platform risks becoming home to dangerous predators ... the company has to take responsibility for this,” she said.
In a statement, Facebook said it was committed to battling hate speech and fake news, and was working closely with various institutions in Italy to deal with cyberbullying.
Facebook, Twitter, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft agreed last May to an EU code of conduct to tackle online hate speech, pledging to review the majority of valid requests for removal of illegal abuse within 24 hours in Europe.
However, in a report released in December, the European Commission said only 40 percent of hate speech was being reviewed within 24 hours, with wide variations from country to country. In Italy, just 4 percent of hate posts were being removed within a day, the report said.