The EU Code of Conduct initiative to counter hate speech is finally showing results.

In a bid to battle racism, xenophobia and other forms of hate speech online, the EU Code of Conduct was established in May 2016.

The findings from the third evaluation of the initiative show that companies remove 70pc of illegal hate speech notified to them.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft were the first companies to join the initiative, and will now be joined by Google Plus and Instagram. This expansion of participating firms will go a long way towards combating hate speech on the internet.

Vĕra Jourová, EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, said: “The internet must be a safe place, free from illegal hate speech, free from xenophobic and racist content.

“The Code of Conduct is now proving to be a valuable tool to tackle illegal content quickly and efficiently.

“This shows that where there is a strong collaboration between technology companies, civil society and policymakers, we can get results and, at the same time, preserve freedom of speech.”

Jourová said she expects IT companies to show similar determination when working on other important issues, such as counterterrorism efforts or proprietary terms and conditions that affect users in negative ways.

But this does lend the question as to whether the EU should have been placing pressure on these companies earlier. Read more here.