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Commission Urges EU States To Toughen Approach To Terrorists, Illegal Online Content

04 March 2018

The recommended operational measures come after five European Commissioners met with representatives of online platforms in Brussels in January to discuss the progress being made in the fight against illegal content published online.

Social media firms have come under increasing pressure from various governments and the European Union to do more to combat extremism and remove terrorist and objectionable content such as hate speech and Islamic State propaganda.

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.

The recommendation, which is non-binding but could be taken into account by European courts, sets guidelines on how companies should remove illegal content generally - from copyright infringements to hate speech - and advises a quicker reaction to extremist material. If there is evidence of a serious criminal offense, or that illegal content could pose a threat to the life or safety of European citizens, companies should promptly inform law enforcement authorities.

European online trade association EDiMA, whose members include Google, Facebook and Twitter, said it was dismayed the Commission had not first chosen to engage in dialogue.

"With ever more people turning to the internet as their prime source of information, the EU's executive is trying to curb the proliferation of terrorist propaganda and illegal content, ranging from child pornography to consumer scams". For example, the use of automated systems to detect any hate speech has shown to be an effective way of dealing with the issue and removing the content.

Teacher arrested after firing a gun in a US high school
There they found a teacher had barricaded himself in a classroom. "At the time , there is a barricaded subject in a classroom". Two of his friends offered to "take care of her" and he said he agreed, according to a 2016 police report.

European Digital Rights, a civil rights group, described the Commission's approach as putting internet giants in charge of censoring Europe. "There is no place for hate speech or content that promotes violence or terrorism on Facebook", a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

These recommendations are voluntary and do not have the force of law but apparently can be used in judicial proceedings, though it's not entirely clear how they might be.

As for the tech firms, at least Facebook has said that it agrees with the EC's recommendations.

The Commission has said that it will continue to work with social network, review their performances in regards to the new guidelines and later determine if additional steps are necessary, such as legislation.

Larger web platforms should also share best practices and tools for automatic detection with smaller platforms that don't have the same resources and can become the next home for blocked terrorists.

Commission Urges EU States To Toughen Approach To Terrorists, Illegal Online Content