UN Calls for More Accountability from Social Media Giants to Curb Hate Speech

Sun 08 Jan 2023 | 11:13 AM

UN urged the heads of many of the world’s biggest social media platforms to change their business models and become more accountable in the battle against rising hate speech online.

In a statement, more than two dozen UN-appointed independent human rights experts said: “We urge all CEOs and leaders of social media to fully assume their responsibility to respect human rights and address racial hatred.”

They affirmed the urgent need to address posts and activities that advocate hatred, and constitute an incitement to discrimination, in line with international standards for freedom of expression.

In this regard, they said the new tech billionaire owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, who heads Google’s parent company Alphabet, Apple’s Tim Cook, “and CEOs of other social media platforms”, should “center human rights, racial justice, accountability, transparency, corporate social responsibility, and ethics, in their business model.”

They also reminded that being accountable as businesses for racial justice and human rights, “is a core social responsibility, advising that “respecting human rights is in the long-term interest of these companies, and their shareholders.”

They further underlined that the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provide a clear path forward on how this can be done.

It’s worth mentioning that the Human Rights Council-appointed independent experts pointed to a “sharp increase in the use of the racist ‘N’ word on Twitter”, following its recent acquisition by Tesla boss Elon Musk.  

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