Monday, June 18, 2018
European Union Plans to Remove Social Media Terrorist Content within an Hour
3/8/2018 12:41:46 PM
Arthur J. Villasanta - Fourth Estate Contributor

Brussels, Belgium (4E) - The European Commission (EC) will likely regulate social media platforms in some form to ensure they promptly remove illegal content that incites to violence such as terrorist propaganda and hate speech, and also activities such as commercial scams.

Based in Brussels, the EC is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding European Union treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.

The EC is considering drafting a law to enforce this step. It's also proposed a "one-hour rule" that requires companies to remove terrorist content within one hour of it being reported. The EC claims this time frame is needed because terrorist content poses a "particularly grave risk to the security of Europeans," and its spread "must be treated as a matter of the utmost urgency." It wants social media firms to get a lot tougher in banning all "illegal content."

The EC is putting pressure on social media firms to comply with an informal recommendation or face the risk of actual legislation being drafted to censor social media along with penalties. It defines terrorist content as "any material which amounts to terrorist offences under the EU Directive on combating terrorism or under national laws -- including material produced by, or attributable to, EU or UN listed terrorist organisations."

The EC is giving companies and EU Member States three months' grace before they must submit relevant information on terrorist content to enable the Commission to monitor their performance. Its also pushing social media firms to implement "proactive measures. These measures include "automated detection" to "effectively and swiftly remove or disable terrorist content and stop it from reappearing once it has been removed."

The EC also wants social media firms to share learnings and techniques with smaller platforms. It wants IT firms to "put in place working arrangements for better cooperation with the relevant authorities, including Europol." EU Member States are instructed to regularly report to the EC on tech firms' performance regarding terrorist content referrals, and also on "overall cooperation".

"Fast-track procedures should be put in place to process referrals as quickly as possible, while Member States need to ensure they have the necessary capabilities and resources to detect, identify and refer terrorist content," according to the EC. The Commission will also launch a public consultation in the next few weeks.

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