Trolled EU Justice Chief Brands Facebook a ‘Highway for Hatred’

  • Vera Jourova deletes her account on the social media site
  • Spokesperson said commissioner was fed up with being trolled

Tech Firms to Face Fines Over Terrorist Material

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova branded Facebook Inc.’s social network "a highway for hatred" and described how she deleted her own account on the social network.

The EU official made her comments at a news conference where she was announcing new guidance urging internet companies to do more to tackle terrorist content and hate speech.

Read more: European Commission Demands Social Media Tackle Illegal Content

"We cannot accept a Wild West, we must act," she said in unveiling the new recommendations.

Jourova’s spokeswoman said she had an official Facebook account for several years but deleted it because she got fed up with being trolled.

Facebook said it was still studying the Commission’s full set of recommendations. It referred to remarks Monika Bickert, the company’s head of global policy, made last week on the firm’s efforts to combat terrorist content. Bickert had said the company now employed 150 people dedicated to countering terrorism and that it was increasing its use of artificial intelligence to identify terrorist content and prevent users from uploading it as well as removing content once it had been posted.

Despite her harsh characterization of Facebook, Jourova said the EU was giving the social media companies a chance to prove that they can regulate their own conduct. She noted that since these companies voluntarily committed to removing illegal content within 24 hours, compliance with this standard had gone from about 30 percent to about 60 percent. She said this was evidence that self-regulation can work.

But she also said that if the companies did not meet the new recommendations, the EU would move to enact new laws.

— With assistance by Giles Turner, and Molly Schuetz

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