EU officials struggling with online ‘terrorist content’

The BBC has reported that the European Commission is struggling to agree on a law aimed at preventing the spread of ‘terrorist content’ online.

Although the European Parliament has just approved a draft version of the law, which would impose a one-hour deadline to remove offending content, the BBC has learnt that changes made to the text by the European Parliament made the law ineffective.

The law would affect social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which could face fines of up to four per cent of their annual global turnover. It allows internet companies one hour to remove offending content after receiving an order from a ‘competent authority’ in an EU country. This could include material that incites or advocates for terrorist offences, promotes the activities of a terrorist group or teaches terrorist techniques.

The amendments claims that websites would not be forced to ‘monitor the information they transmit or store, nor have to actively seek facts indicating illegal activity’. It said the ‘competent authority’ should give the website information on the procedures and deadlines 12 hours before the agreed one-hour deadline the first time an order is issued. The unnamed Commission official who spoke to the BBC said that ‘we don't think the amendments provide for effective measures’, stressing that the proposal ‘didn't properly address the legality of cross border removal orders’

The commission now plans to agree a version closer to the original with a new Parliament after the European elections in May.

The crackdown on terrorist content online has gathered pace in the last year or so, with evidence suggesting that the readily-available access of terrorist content online continues to have a huge impact on radicalisation, recruitment, and incitement to violence.


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