Rakuten Viber signs the EU Code of Conduct in Brussels, Belgium, further cementing its commitment to building a safe and secure messaging platform.
BRUSSELS. May 10, 2022 - Rakuten Viber, a global leader in private and secure messaging and voice-based communication, is signing the EU Code of Conduct in its commitment to prevent and counter the spread of hate speech online in the EU. On May 10, 2022, Idit Arad, Rakuten Viber’s General Counsel – who serves as the company's "privacy guardian" – joins the head of the EU Commission for Justice, Consumers & Gender Equality, Didier Reynders, in Brussels to sign the agreement.
Rakuten Viber connects people from all around the world, through secure one-on-one conversations, groups, and Channels on its platform. It continues to be one of the most popular messaging apps in the Central and Eastern European region with 76% of smartphone penetration. As Viber continues to expand its features and create new ways for its users to communicate with each other, the company is committed to building a secure messaging platform. Viber will ensure its users feel safe no matter how they are communicating.
The signing is taking place in Brussels, Belgium, on May 10. Viber will work with the EU Commission for Justice, Consumers & Gender Equality, as well as trusted Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to monitor, analyze, and remove hateful speech on its communication platform.
NGOs involved in the code of conduct include Spanish Observatory on Racism and Xenophobia (OBERAXE) in Spain, Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme (LICRA) in France, Centro Studi Regis in Italy, National LGBT Rights Oganisation (LGL) in Lithuania, and many others all across Europe. Viber is implementing the necessary tools to help trusted NGOs report hateful comments. It will have a dedicated form on its platform specifically for the NGOs and authorities in order to streamline their process and ensure Viber can take action and remove the content in the quickest way possible. By working together with the NGOs, Viber can make sure every experience on the platform is a positive one by protecting against the spread of illegal hate speech.
Viber has dedicated resources to train and support its content moderation teams, who will make assessments of the hateful content and take the necessary steps to remove it. To provide a better understanding of the tools available, Viber will also be reaching out to the NGOs to provide training as well as online explanations.
The feature that will benefit the most from the Code of Conduct signing is the Viber Channels. People from around the world can subscribe to Channels to discover the latest news, take polls and quizzes, and gain access to exclusive content. They also enable a public forum for conversation and this Code of Conduct will ensure the right measures are in place to monitor the content. If hateful content is shared, the message can be flagged by one of the participating NGOs or other users, and the moderation team will be able to review it.
In the latest Code of Conduct evaluation monitoring round, in 81% of the cases, the notifications were assessed in less than 24 hours and action was taken where necessary. Viber also intends to remove the reported hate speech within 24 hours. The Code of Conduct has resulted in positive changes to many online platforms.
“Viber has always been committed to the privacy and safety of its users. With this recent signing, we can drive this point forward even further,” says Idit Arad, General Counsel for Rakuten Viber. “Viber’s extensive list of privacy features, like end-to-end encryption, disappearing messages, and hidden chats give our users enhanced privacy when exchanging personal messages. Now, in our open communication features like our Channels, Viber users can get involved knowing we have their best interests at heart.”
In addition to combating hate speech within the platform, Rakuten Viber strives to fight against other unethical behavior and to prevent additional illegal activities like trafficking, bootlegging, scamming, and more.