Several major American tech companies have agreed to a European Union request to remove hateful content posted to their sites.
An EU release says Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft plan to follow a code of conduct for removing hate speech from their platforms.
In a statement, the EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality said the move is meant — at least in part — to prevent terrorist groups from using social media sites to radicalize young people.
However, some online rights groups fear that the rules will get in the way of free speech.
The code is using a definition for hate speech that labels it as "the public incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, color, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin."
The companies have committed to reviewing the majority of notifications about hate speech within 24 hours of receiving them and removing content that fits the definition of hate speech.
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