Several high-profile Twitter accounts were hacked yesterday with Nazi slogans and swastikas.
It is thought the hack is connected to comments Turkey’s president Erdogan made in which he accused the Netherlands of acting like Nazis by blocking Turkish ministers from holding rallies in the country
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Accounts affected by the hack sent out tweets with swastikas and hashtags referring to Germany and the Netherlands as Nazi, along with a video of Erdogan’s speech.
Twitter Counter, a tool that is used to measure Twitter analytics, was targeted in the hack leading to accounts including the European Parliament and Unicef being affected.
Social media hate speech saga
The latest hack, particularly with it posting politically divisive content, can be added to the arsenal of governments who are attempting to force social media networks to crack done on this type of content on their sites.
Germany’s justice minister Heiko Maas, has proposed new legislation that would target social networks with heavy fines if they fail to remove hate speech. The new measures could carry penalties of around £44m.
Maas, in particular, has been highly critical of Facebook for failing to prevent racist and xenophobic comments on the platform. He has said the “networks aren’t taking the complaints of their own users seriously enough”.
Under the proposal, companies including Facebook and Twitter would be forced to review complaints and delete illegal content within 24 hours. Maas wants the process of reporting illegal comments to be clear and accessible and that a post would have to be taken down within a week of a complaint being filed.
The law would also require companies to file quarterly reports on their efforts to prevent hate speech online.
In the UK, representations from Google, Facebook and Twitter have been facing scrutiny from MPs in the Commons home affairs committee.
Yvette Cooper, Labour MP and chair of the committee, told executives that they have a “terrible reputation” for failing to act on reports of hate speech on their platforms.
One of the hot topics in the committee was about how IS supporters and neo-Nazi groups can earn advertising revenue through videos posted to YouTube, therefore funding their illicit activities.
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The tech companies argued that the sheer scale of their networks meant it was impossible to track everything that is posted online.
Earlier this month Twitter laid out new updates to safety features on the site, including updating reporting of abusive tweets, stopping the creation of new abusive accounts and how it is working to reduce abusive content.
In a blog post detailing the new features, Twitter’s vice president of engineering, Ed Ho said:
Since these tools are new we will sometimes make mistakes, but know that we are actively working to improve and iterate on them every day.”
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