Arcom's report on 'hateful content online & platforms': more efforts are needed

posted on 28 August, 2023   (public)

Very Large Online Platforms: efforts to comply with the Digital Services Act must be consolidated

In July 2023, the French media regulator Arcom released a report on hateful content online, as requested by the French law of August 24, 2021*.

Based on observations and statements made by operators in response to an ad hoc questionnaire, it assesses the improvement of the tools and procedures put in place by major online platforms** to combat hateful content on their services.

Arcom’s key findings:

- A greater transparency to be consolidated: platforms demonstrate a willingness to comply with the Digital Services Act (DSA) and provide more relevant data regarding the number of content reports and resources put in place. However, some providers still struggle to deliver data in the prescribed time and to be transparent as regards the working language of the moderators (data classified as confidential by Meta, Pinterest, Snapchat and TikTok).
- General terms and conditions still too unclear and difficult to access, especially via mobile devices. Some emerging practices such as section’s summaries are nevertheless encouraging.  
- Improvement of the reporting content system, even though it could be presented in a more explicit way (unclear button).
- The benefit of partnerships with external experts: several platforms have established partnerships with trusted flaggers, a framework that should be strengthened by the DSA. Arcom also notes the increasing cooperation with the judicial and administrative authorities when it comes to information requests from these authorities. The DSA is expected to reinforce the legal framework for more effective responses to unlawful content dissemination.

*The French law of August 24, 2021 reinforcing respect for the principles of the Republic strengthened the legal framework for the responsibility of the main online platforms active in France to combat the dissemination of hateful content on their service. This national framework was intended to anticipate the Digital Services Act. It will disappear at the end of 2023, and be replaced by DSA’s provisions when it will be fully enforceable and as to allow maximum harmonization.

**Bing, Dailymotion, Google Search, LinkedIn, Meta (Instagram and Facebook), Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, Wikipedia, portail Yahoo and YouTube.

Source: Arcom (FR)