ICCA, Facebook, Google reach historic agreement on hate speech on the Internet

PALO ALTO/LONDON 10/05/2012

The Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) Task Force on Internet Hate met this week at Stanford University and Facebook headquarters, where it established a permanent Anti-Cyberhate Working Group to probe more deeply into the roots of the problem of hate speech on the Internet and to agree realistic procedures to tackle this issue. The resolution was prompted by a desire of industry leaders, including Google and Facebook, to maintain a continuing dialogue with parliamentarians and experts on best practices on combating Internet hate and to promote transparency on how online hate is addressed.

The ICCA Task Force consists of parliamentary leaders, industry executives, lawyers, academics and non-government organisations. It is the first of its kind, bringing together major players from all sides to agree on actions to create an Internet that does not provide a haven for those who spread hate.

The ICCA Working Group will be comprised of industry, parliamentarians and experts to build best practices for understanding, reporting upon and responding to Internet hate. The Working Group will also report to the public what steps are being taken by Internet companies to address hate on the Internet.

“It’s a significant breakthrough with much wider implications beyond the Internet industry. It will make it more straightforward to challenge others in civil society such as the sports world, employers, trade unions, political parties and universities”, says John Mann MP, Chair of the ICCA.

Christopher Wolf, an attorney and leading expert on Internet hate, who serves as Co-Chair of the ICCA Task Force on Internet Hate (together with Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein) added: “This represents an incredible opportunity to have the industry’s leaders coming together with non-governmental organizations, academics and other interested parties to develop a collaborative approach to Internet hate. The Internet has been infected with the virus of hate since its inception, and the Task Force is proving to be one of the most effective mechanisms for developing voluntary efforts to disable the virus.”

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE FORMATION OF THE ANTI-CYBERHATE WORKING GROUP

WHEREAS, hate content on the Internet is growing globally and continues to have a serious negative impact on society; and
WHEREAS, voluntary efforts to curb hate content, respectful of the right to free expression, are effective and important; and
WHEREAS, technology companies across the globe can play a leading role in combating Internet hate; and
WHEREAS, at the May 7, 2012 meeting of The Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism (ICCA) Task Force on Internet Hate held under the auspices of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University, Google and Facebook indicated their interest and desire to have a continuing dialogue with persons and non governmental organizations (NGOs) concerned with Internet hate, to discuss best practices in combating Internet hate and to promote transparency on how Internet hate is addressed; and
WHEREAS, in light of the global nature of the issues involved, it is highly desirable to have other global stakeholders, including industry, participate;
IT THEREFORE IS RESOLVED THAT
The ICCA Task Force on Internet Hate endorses the formation of the Anti-Cyberhate Working Group (ACWG) to include industry, academics, NGOs and other interested parties to work together to build best practices for understanding, reporting upon and responding to Internet hate, and requests ICCA Task Force member Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to convene and move forward with the ACWG. The ACWG should meet regularly and provide reports to the public on the steps being taken by Internet companies to address Internet hate.