Europe Asks Social Networks to Remove Terrorist Content Within an Hour

  • Europe Asks Social Networks to Remove Terrorist Content Within an Hour

Europe Asks Social Networks to Remove Terrorist Content Within an Hour

Any tech company that is responsible for people posting content online will have three months from now to report back to the European Union on what they were doing to meet the new targets it has set.

"While several platforms have been removing more illegal content than ever before-showing that self-regulation can work-we still need to react faster against terrorist propaganda and other illegal content which is a serious threat to our citizens' security, safety and fundamental rights", said Andrus Ansip, the commission vice president in charge of coordinating digital issues.

Member states and companies are required to submit relevant details regarding terrorist content within three months, and other illegal content within a six-month period.

"Terrorist content online poses a particularly grave risk to the security of Europeans, and its proliferation must be treated as a matter of the utmost urgency", the commission said in a statement, and urged the removal of all terror threats and propaganda within one hour of detection. The Commission called on platforms to use human oversight and verification to make sure automatic algorithms are not deleting legal material or hindering freedom of speech.

Nevertheless, Facebook said that it shares the European Commission's goal.

While these recommendations are non-binding, they could factor into future legislation. This includes having tools in place to automatically detect terrorist content.

When it comes to unsafe content online, the European Union is not messing around. The commission said it would monitor the responses to determine whether additional steps, including legislation, would be necessary. Thursday's recommendations warns tech companies to remove content faster or face legislation that forces them to do so. "Today's recommendation institutionalizes a role for Facebook and Google in regulating the free speech of Europeans", said Joe McNamee, the group's executive director.

"EDiMA fails to see how the arbitrary Recommendation published by the European Commission, without due consideration of the types of content; the context and impact of the obligation on other regulatory issues; and, the feasibility of applying such broad recommendations by different kinds of service providers can be seen as a positive step forward", said the association in a statement emailed to BuzzFeed News. In addition, big web platforms should share best practices and technological tools for automatic detection with smaller platforms, to which terrorists have shifted their operations but which have fewer resources, the European Union said.