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Ethnic origin and especially anti-gypsyism, the main cause of online hate speech, according to the European Commission [editar]

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano among the 3 Spanish entities working in the European Commission´s 3rd evaluation of the Code of Conduct to counteract the hate speech in the EU

23/01/2018
FSG Igualdad y Lucha contra la Discriminación

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Ethnic origin and especially anti-gypsyism, the main cause of online hate speech, according to the European Commission

2,982 cases of online hate speech were reported by 35 social entities across the EU, 507 were based on ethnic origin. The vast majority of them caused by anti-Gypsyism. The Fundación Secretariado Gitano achieved the withdrawal of 90% of reported cases (100 antigypsy content withdrawn, out of 116).
The improvement of coexistence and respect for the Roma community goes through an educational and preventive policy on based on the right to equality and non-discrimination.

On January 19, DG Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová announced the results of the third cycle of evaluation of the Code of Conduct to counter the illegal hate speech signed by Internet companies (Facebook, Twitter and Google) in 2016, to analyze the elimination of illegal hate speech on social networks.

On average, IT companies eliminated 70% of the illegal hate speech reported. Compared with the elimination rate of 59% in the second follow-up cycle (May 2017) and with 28% in the first follow-up (2016), there is a clear and constant increase in the elimination of hate speech. In general, IT companies eliminated 70% of the content notified, while 30% remained online.

Facebook eliminated 79.8% of content, YouTube 75% and Twitter 45.7%. There has been substantial progress of the three companies compared to the results presented in May 2017 and December 2016. Ethnic origin (17.1%), anti-Muslim hatred (16.4%) and xenophobia (16%) were the most common topics of hate speech. Most cases of ethnic were anti-Roma hate speech, which indicates that the Romani people still one of the main target groups of hate speech.

2,982 cases were reported by 35 social entities across the EU. 507 of those were based on ethnic origin, the vast majority of them anti-Gypsyism. NGOs from Italy, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain reported numerous cases of this type, where death threats were made against Roma people, apology and incitation to extermination or dehumanization by comparing them with animals. All these cases represent an attack on the dignity of people because of their ethnicity, and this is precisely where the limit of freedom of expression is, as several judgments of the European Court of Human Rights indicate.

In the case of Spain, three entities participate in this process, Fundación Secretariado Gitano, which reported 116 cases (one of the highest reporting rates of the 35 entities across Europe), the National Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (FELGTB) (35 cases) and the Spanish Observatory on Racism and Xenophobia (OBERAXE) (86 cases). In average, Spain achieved a withdrawal of 73.8% of the reported cases, a rather high rate compared with the other 26 countries.

The FSG achieved a 90% withdrawal of reported cases (100 anti-Roma hate content in social networks removed, of the 116 reported). In this process, the FSG has made use of its trusted entity recognition ("trusted flagger"), which has been granted by Facebook, Google and Twitter.

From the FSG, we have just published a "Guide to combat hate speech" (in Spanish), we believe that the fight against this phenomenon is fundamental, since it feeds and reinforces the stereotypes and prejudices that exist against Roma people, which often leads to discriminatory behavior and sometimes even hate crimes. The improvement of coexistence and respect for the Roma community goes through an educational and preventive policy on equality and the right to non-discrimination, and a greater awareness among the population that social media should not be used as platforms for dissemination of hatred and discrimination. We believe that these measures should be framed in an extension of the current legal framework by promoting an Integral Law of Equal of Treatment and Non-Discrimination.

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