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Anti-Roma hate speech is the most frequent one in social media in the EU [editar]

The European Commission publishes the results of the 7th Monitoring Round of the EU’s Code of Conduct against hate speech online

Departamento de Igualdad y no Discriminación

Anti-Roma hate speech is the most frequent one in social media in the EU

Of the 3 634 cases reported in the 7th Monitoring Round of the EU’s Code of Conduct against hate speech online against different specific groups such as LGBTIQ, Roma and Jewish people, Muslims, migrants, among others, speeches against Roma people are the most frequent ones (16.8% of the cases).

In order to respond to the proliferation of racist and xenophobic hate speech online, the European Commission and four important technological companies (Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube) presented a Code of Conduct on 31 May 2016 to counteract illegal hate speech. Since then, Instagram, Snapchat, Dailymotion,, TikTok, LinkedIn and, in spring 2022, Rakuten Viber and Twitch joined the Code.

The Code of Conduct is based on close cooperation between the European Commission, IT companies, civil society organisations (including Fundación Secretariado Gitano) and national authorities in order to assess these companies’ degree of compliance in their commitment to remove those messages in 24 hours.

Data on the 7th Round

The European Commission has just published the results of its 7th evaluation of the Code of Conduct about the fight against illegal incitement to hatred online. Unfortunately, this year’s results show a decrease in companies’ notice-and-action results: the number of notifications reviewed by the companies within 24 hours dropped as compared to the last two monitoring exercises, from 90.4% in 2020, to 81% in 2021, and 64.4% in 2022. The removal rate, at 63.6%, is also considerably lower than at its peak in 2020 (71%). Only YouTube performed better on this parameter than in the last two years. There is, however, a positive development on the companies’ frequency and quality of feedback to users, something which the Commission had been calling on companies to improve in the 2021 report.

Companies reviewed 64.4% of notifications within 24 hours, which shows a decrease as compared to the last two monitoring exercises (81% in 2021 and 90.4% in 2020). Only TikTok has increased its performance (from 82.5% in 2021 to 91.7% in 2022).

The removal rate was 63.6%, similar to 2021 (62.5%), but still lower than in 2020 (71%). YouTube improved its removal rate in 2022 (90.4%), as compared to 2021 (58.8%). All the other IT companies removed less content than in 2021, in some cases with minor variations (Facebook removed 69.1% in 2022 and 70.2% in 2021; Twitter removed 45.4% and 49.8%, respectively).

69.6% of content calling for murder or violence against specific groups was removed, while content using defamatory words or pictures against certain groups was removed in 59.3% of the cases.

Each monitoring exercise is carried out following a commonly agreed methodology which makes it possible to compare the results over time. The 7th exercise was carried out between 28 March and 13 May 2022 by 36 organisations from 21 Member States. A total of 3 634 notifications were submitted to the IT companies. 2 765 notifications were submitted through the reporting channels available to general users, while 869 were submitted through specific channels available only to trusted flaggers (including Fundación Secretariado Gitano).

For the first time, anti-Roma hate speeches are the most frequent ones

Since the 5th Monitoring Round, these monitoring rounds include antigypsyism as a specific category, which allows a greater visibility and recognition of this type of racism. This year is especially worrying because anti-Roma hate speeches lead the figures that come from the study: 16.8% of the reported cases are hate speeches against the Roma community. In other words, of the 3 634 cases reported in the 21 States that participate in the round, 610 are anti-Roma hate comments or messages. Fundación Secretariado Gitano reported 205 of these cases (the biggest number in the 6 rounds it has participated)

As regards to Spain, reported hate content’s removal rate is very high, 78.9%, the highest in the 6 rounds Spain has participated, and far above this year’s overall European average (63.3%). By types of hate speech, apart from anti-Roma speech, the second most frequent type is the xenophobic speech (including anti-migrant hatred), with 16.3%, and the third one, hate speeches against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people, with 15.5%.

Fundación Secretariado Gitano appreciates the fact that the European Commission keeps carrying out this type of monitoring rounds, and its initiative to extend the list of “EU crimes” to hate speech and hate crime, since a legal basis does not exist currently in order to criminalise incitement to hatred and hate crime at EU level. The list of EU crimes of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) must be extended to ensure common minimum rules on the definition of criminal offences and sanctions applicable in all EU Member States.

Moreover, we want to express our concern about this rise in anti-Roma speeches, and also about the drop in the feedback rate from most social media when it comes to removing this type of illegal messages. We believe that such an important topic like hate speech must be addressed seriously by the companies that provide these media, since its impact on the affected communities’ lives and image is very important, and because occasionally, these hate messages are the precursor of severe acts of violence and discrimination.