back to article EU bureaucrats claim credit for making 'illegal online hate speech' even more illegal

The European Commission has claimed the credit for getting Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft to agree on a code of conduct which will address "illegal online hate speech", despite the companies already following practices demanded by EU bureaucrats. The three-page code of conduct (PDF) seeks to establish how online …

  1. TeeCee Gold badge

    The problem....

    ....here is that "hate speech" is pretty much what you (or actually some bunch of professional goalpost movers) say it is this week. A thoughtcrime defined by newspik if ever there was one.

    Rather amusingly: "'....but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population'.” would seem to put the ECHR firmly at odds with the bien pensant wankers of the racism industry[1] on this one. It almost seems like they're adding "missing" Human Right #1, free speech, to the EU's list of trivia that they're supposed to abide by.

    [1] There's pots of money to be made by lawyers, journos, politicians and anyone who can wangle a compo claim. What else is it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The problem....

      "offend, shock or disturb any sector of the population"

      Uh oh. Millennials are offended by everything!

      1. BoldMan

        Re: The problem....

        Even being called millennials :) Bloody whiners!

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: The problem....

      Then the places like Facebook, etc. just need to shutdown as there's a lot of people who are offended by just about anything and believe that which offends them is "hate speech".

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: The problem....

        I'm offended by Facebook's very existence. Will they shut themselves down?

  2. Steve 114
    Unhappy

    Do What?

    My father fought Hitler and his Far-eastern allies, and later tore Stalin's picture out of my scrapbook. Now I wonder who the genuine Brit nationalists are, and whether my southern-counties 'Brexit' prejudices (after many years of genuine techno-fun and good food in BXL) count for anything. Please, vote in the current Referendum - we need to know what you too think.

  3. Please choose a User Name
    Stop

    ...and here we have something where the USA kicks our asses

    aka you should be able to say whatever you want online.

    Let the people moderate what they want to hear, don't let the platform moderate what's allowed to be said.

    The bloody KKK has 3000-5000 members, while in Germany the Naziparty got voted by ~500.000 people in 2013! Clearly being able to say what they want doesn't help extremists, but makes the people see them as what they are.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ...and here we have something where the USA kicks our asses

      Ah, what a fine example indeed.

      The USA really needs to have its own 'containment' internet. Most of their internet users seem to have this warped idea that their beloved constitutional freedom of speech means the right to express hatred without mind to consequence, and that all opinion is valid, no matter how uninformed or prejudiced it may be.

      If you really think such speech deserves a platform online and thusly an automatic audience I suspect your head needs examining.

      I do wonder what Evelyn Beatrice Hall would have said if the internet existed in her day. I sincerely doubt it would have been the simple-minded "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".

  4. Alumoi

    Illegal hate speech?

    Does that mean that there is some kind of legal hate speech?

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Illegal hate speech?

      Legal hate speech? Yes, of course there is.

      "that which publicly incites violence, or denies or trivialises crimes against humanity."

      means violence and crimes against us. You can demand the extermination of funny foreigners as much as you like - look at any US fanatic's opinion of Moslems, or of any Moslem country.

      US politicians can brag about drone assassinations of anyone the US dislikes, while denouncing those awful terrorists who might attack the US.

      The US can invade any country it wants to, with trivial or no justification.

      We've made the rules, so they don't apply to us.

  5. David Pollard

    Sarah Bee to train moderatrixes

    Many Reg commentards will remember with affection Ms Bee and her keen sense of propriety.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/30/moderatrix_off/

    Perhaps consideration should have been given to employing her for a while as Tsarina for Decent Speech. Were she to train others in the art of moderation and imbue in them by example her wit, acuity and good taste this would bring far greater benefit than yet another set of regulations.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "'illegal online hate speech' Which the EU will define to include saying anything negative about the EU, or immigration.

  7. Lars Silver badge
    Coat

    Worthless

    article.

  8. Ole Juul Silver badge

    or denies or trivialises crimes against humanity.

    That puts mainstream press in a difficult spot when they're publishing the typical denials from governments such as the US. Fact is these laws are not intended to apply to everybody.

  9. King Jack
    Mushroom

    Reset the world

    My humanities teacher at school said wars were good. When asked why, he said the governments of the world need resetting periodically and civil war was the only way to do it. Mankind will drown in this bullshit soon. Nobody will open their mouths for fear of upsetting someone.

  10. albaleo

    Only a dozen comments so far...

    It seems to be having an effect already.

  11. corestore

    Funny no-one else seems to have spotted...

    "Spokespersons from all of the IT companies added that they already follow the code of conduct and work hard to promote counter-narratives."

    Since when has it been the business of Twitter FB et. al. to "promote" ANY political "narrative"?!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Offence

    is ALWAYS taken, never given.

    We live in a world run by a set of arseholes who have been sheltered from the harsh realities of life. Consequently ANYTHING they perceive as "anti-establishment" MUST be brought down. Its for the greater good you know. They are so scared of words its beyond belief.

    Well fuck you, i call a spade a spade and dont care whether it offends or pleases. I'd rather face an uncomfortable truth that a feather lined lie. One will prepare me for life, one wont.

    These "bubble" dwellers need to wake up, smell the coffee and remove the rose tinted glasses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Offence

      To quote, or perhaps misquote, Geoff Boycott:

      "I say what I like and I bloody well like what I say".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Offence

        To Quote Londo Malari's (Babylon 5) security officer "if you cant say what you mean, you cant mean what you say"

  13. Matt Bradley

    Over reach.

    The EU hate speech definition includes:

    "Publicly CONDONING, DENYING or GROSSLY TRVIALISING crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined in Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Statute of the Inter­national Criminal Court"

    (my emphasis)

    It could be argued that under this definition, both Ken Livingston and Boris Johnson are amongst those guilty of "grossly trivialising" crimes of genocide. Much as I am amused by the idea of large numbers of public figures and politicians all been dragged into police stations and having their Twitter accounts shut down, I'd humbly submit that this might be something of an overreach in the the definition of hate speech, and represents a fairly significant interference with the principle of free speech.

    This makes me deeply uncomfortable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Over reach.

      I haven't listened to everything Ken Livingstone has said (who has?) but I don't think he trivialised what Hitler and the Nazis did, he was just stupid enough to point out some historical reality. I can't remember him denying the holocaust, or implying that it was unimportant. You can read what he actually said yourself:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-anti-semitism-row-full-transcript-of-ken-livingstones-interviews-a7005311.html

      1. Matt Bradley

        Re: Over reach.

        AC: what you or I may feel about the words of Ken Livingston, the fact is that a large number of people were arguing he was both trivialising and and being revisionist about that period of history.

        For precisely this reason having such broad language in one's definition of "hate speech" runs the risk of catching language such as that used by Ken Livingston. The point I am making is that this probably a BAD THING.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Over reach.

          Ahh, I see what you're getting at.... yes good point.

          Forgive my slow wittedness... I'm no fan of Ken Livingston but I don't like seeing the way the press immediately went into overdrive and ignored what he'd actually said.

        2. Vic

          Re: Over reach.

          the fact is that a large number of people were arguing he was both trivialising and and being revisionist about that period of history.

          Indeed. And quite a few people were offended, schocked, and disturbed by what he said.

          So now we have a definition of hate speech that includes "...but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population"

          Which makes Ken's words into Hate Speech - whether he was speaking the truth or not[1].

          having such broad language in one's definition of "hate speech" runs the risk of catching language such as that used by Ken Livingston. The point I am making is that this probably a BAD THING.

          Absolutely agreed.

          Vic.

          [1] I've no idea if he was right or wrong. I don't have a lot of time for Ken Livingstone, and rarely listen to a word he says these days...

  14. Asterix the Gaul

    Speaking for myself,the right to 'freedom of expression' overrides any 'right' not to be offended.

    If you can't stand the heat,get out of the bloody kitchen.

    IMHO, politicians here & in the E.U are using people's sensitivity to words they don't like,as an excuse to negate those very right's of 'free expression' that governments signed up to in 1948 after WW2 with the Geneva Convention on Human Rights.

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