The Irish prime minister has warned the EU against sending the wrong message when it comes to advertising, as a growing number of countries around the world have introduced restrictions on what can be posted online.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “It is a matter of concern that we are seeing in Europe the growth of a new breed of dumb tweets.
It is a phenomenon that is not a new phenomenon, but it is a very recent development.”
He added that while it is important that the EU and its member states respect and promote freedom of speech, it is equally important to safeguard the public interest.
“The EU is very concerned by the growth and spread of these kinds of tweets,” he said.
“We have seen a number of recent examples where the EU has come to the conclusion that certain social media platforms are not free and that this is not something that should be allowed to flourish.”
We need to take a clear and unequivocal stand against these kinds.
We cannot allow these platforms to grow and flourish, we cannot allow them to become the new platforms for promoting hate, we must fight them.
“Earlier this month, a group of German lawmakers and social media companies agreed to develop an EU code of conduct for what should be covered in social media, including tweets and other content.
The EU Commission has proposed a similar code to be developed, which would include guidelines for the handling of illegal or inappropriate content.”
In light of the recent developments, we urge the EU to adopt a more robust approach and adopt an effective code of practice that addresses these important issues,” Kenny said.”
While the Commission is not proposing a new code of behaviour, the Commission’s proposal to develop a Code of Conduct for social media would serve as a guideline to ensure that all stakeholders are adequately informed on the protection of the freedom of expression and the protection against hate speech.
“However, it would not be a complete or comprehensive solution to the challenge of online hate speech, nor should it be the only approach to tackling hate and intolerance.
It would not address all hate speech and intolerance, and its implementation would need to be subject to robust legal and political scrutiny.”
The issue of online adverts comes at a time of heightened concern over a growing increase in hate speech on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
The number of hate crimes committed online increased by more than 4,000 per cent in 2017, according to the International Anti-Fascist Alliance.
The Irish government has previously called on the EU not to send the wrong signal and urged the EU commission to act against the spread of hate and intimidation.
The Government said on Friday that it would be putting forward legislation to the European Parliament to make it mandatory for the European Commission to work with Twitter to combat hate speech across the continent.