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Yahoo will address alleged hate clubs

A day after issuing a public criticism against Yahoo, the Anti-Defamation League says the Web portal has vowed to work to remove alleged racist and anti-Semitic "clubs" from its service.

A day after issuing a public criticism against Yahoo, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said the Web portal has vowed to work to remove alleged racist and anti-Semitic "clubs" from its service.

The announcement follows a statement issued by the ADL yesterday that the Yahoo Clubs service contained sites that reportedly belonged to supporters of prominent hate groups. The ADL charged that the presence of these clubs was in violation of Yahoo's terms of service policy, which prohibits hate speech on its site.

"We are pleased that Yahoo has responded to our concerns by pledging to work on upholding its terms of service against hate," Abraham H. Foxman, ADL's national director, said in a statement. "We hope to continue to work with Yahoo and other Internet service providers to monitor hate and deny extremists a platform at Web sites where user policies strictly forbid offensive material."

Yahoo said that it did take action soon after being notified of the clubs last month, according to a company representative. But the ADL said yesterday that until now, Yahoo had been turning a "blind eye" to the clubs, as some of them were still accessible on the site.

Yahoo did not elaborate on what kind of action it is taking now or on whether any clubs have been removed.

Web sites and online services face a balancing act between allowing free speech and barring potentially offensive material.

Yahoo requires all of its users to agree to its terms of service, which gives the company the right to kick violators off its services. It does not actively police content on its site, however. Rather, it evaluates user complaints and then takes action if necessary.