Women are the main targets of online hate, including vulgar language, harassment and sexual violence, according to a report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released on Wednesday.
The findings of the FRA report should encourage the EU and social media platforms to protect characteristics such as gender and ethnicity when moderating content, the document stressed.
The study was conducted on YouTube, Telegram, Reddit and X (formerly Twitter) in four EU countries – Bulgaria,Germany, Italy and Sweden between January and June 2022. It showed that women were the main targets of attacks. This applied to all platforms and countries covered by the study. Other groups affected by attacks include people of African descent, Roma and Jews.
FRA reported that the number of posts containing hate language directed at women was almost three times greater than the number of such posts directed at people of African descent.
“The sheer scale of the hate we saw on social media clearly demonstrates the need for the EU, its member states and online platforms to step up their efforts to create a safer online space for all,” FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty said in a statement.
New regulations, inspections have started
Under the EU’s Digital Services Act, which came into force last year, large tech platforms and search engines must put more effort into fighting harmful and illegal content or face financial penalties.
In October European Commission launched a formal investigation into whether Meta, TikTok and X were effective in removing harmful content.
Tech giants have been facing increasing scrutiny lately amid a surge in harmful content and war-fueled disinformation Israel with Hamas – emphasizes Reuters.
FRA stated that when preparing the report announced on Wednesday, it did not obtain access to data from Facebook and Instagram.
If you are experiencing emotional problems and would like advice or support, here you will find a list of organizations offering professional help. In a situation of immediate threat to life, call 997 or 112.
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