Facebook's Instagram and the Google+ social network have agreed to join an EU-sponsored group of US internet giants to combat online terrorism, EU officials said Friday.
EU officials added that the existing members — YouTube, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook — have made progress toward meeting the code of conduct they signed up to in May 2016, promising to look at suspicious content within 24 hours and remove illegal material.
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"Instagram has decided to join forces in the fight against illegal online hate speech and will now also apply the code of conduct," EU Justice and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Vera Jourova told reporters.
"And this morning I also received the message that Google+ is joining," she added.
The EU joined forces with US-based internet firms nearly two years ago amid growing alarm in Europe over the use of social media as a recruiting tool, especially by the Islamic State group.
Jourova said Friday she would continue having the industry regulate itself under the code of conduct after hailing progress among the internet firms to remove threatening material.
Facebook, where almost half of the illegal content was to be found, according to the survey, announced last year that it would hire an additional 3,000 moderators to scour the platform for potential hateful content. It reviewed complaints in less than 24 hours in 89.3 per cent of cases, YouTube in 62.7 per cent of cases, and Twitter in 80.2 per cent of cases.
Illegal hate speech is defined in EU law as the public incitement to violence, or hatred directed at groups or individuals on the basis of certain characteristics, including race, colour, religion, descent and national or ethnic origin.