Posted on October 25, 2018

Civil Rights Groups Call for Tech Companies to Crack Down on Hate Speech

Ali Breland, The Hill, October 25, 2018

A group of civil rights organizations is pushing technology companies to create policies to more effectively address hate speech and extremist groups.

The six organizations, joined by 40 other organizations who echoed the call, wrote in a report that they want the platforms to take firmer stances against “racism, sexism, xenophobia, religious bigotry, homophobia and transphobia” and enforce policies against hate speech and extremist groups more strictly.

The groups, which include the Center for American Progress, Color of Change, Free Press, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the National Hispanic Media Coalition and the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that they plan to release report cards next year for how social media firms are handling the recommendations.


Major technology companies have fumbled for solutions as white supremacists and other extremist groups have organized and grown in numbers on their platforms.


Many, especially those against platforms tightening their speech standards, have painted the matter as a conflict between free speech and censorship, but the organizations argued in their report that the lines between the two values are more nuanced than that.


“Online tools have been used to coordinate attacks, including violence against people of color, immigrants, religious minorities, LGBTQIA people, women and people with disabilities,” the report reads. “This chills the online speech of the targeted groups, curbs democratic participation, and threatens people’s safety and freedom in real life.”