After boycotts, advertisers and social media giants agree on steps to curb hate speech

(Reuters) — Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have agreed on first steps to curb harmful content online, big advertisers announced on Wednesday, following boycotts of social media platforms accused of tolerating hate speech.

Under the deal, announced by the World Federation of Advertisers, common definitions would be adopted for forms of harmful content such as hate speech and bullying, and platforms would adopt harmonized reporting standards. The deal comes less than six weeks before a polarizing U.S. presidential election.

Three months ago, major advertisers boycotted Facebook in the wake of anti-racism demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd, an American Black man, in police custody in Minneapolis.

Advertisers have complained for years that big social media companies do too little to prevent ads from appearing alongside hate speech, fake news, and other harmful content. Big tech companies have begun taking steps to fend off calls for more regulation.

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