Wednesday

19th Sep 2018

EU states back bill against online hate speech

  • Social media giants are being asked to tackle online hate speech (Photo: Kyra Preston)

EU ministers on Tuesday (23 May) backed a bill that seeks to curb hate speech on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google's YouTube.

The move follows wider concerns over online radicalisation and the incitement to commit terrorist acts.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

It also comes on the heels of a suicide terror attack in the UK that ended the lives of 22 people and injured 59 others following a concert in Manchester.

The EU bill still needs the support of the European Parliament before it becomes law.

But if passed, the tech giants will need to remove offensive content, posing broader concerns over free speech. Digital rights defenders have in the past argued that the fight against radical online content often leads to censorship.

It also poses questions on social media giants' abilities to remove offending content. Facebook and others already said in 2015 they would examine and remove any hateful comments spreading online within 24 hours of their detection.

But internal guidelines by Facebook, published by the Guardian newspaper, have described efforts to remove all terrorist content among its 2 billion users as “mission impossible”.

The Guardian report also follows a recently proposed bill in Germany that now threatens Facebook and Twitter with up to €50 million in fines if they do not remove hateful content or fake news within 24 hours.

The bill backed by the EU ministers is part of the EU's audiovisual media services directive, which also lays out separate rules for video on-demand providers such as Netflix in terms of ensuring that at least 30 percent of the content is European.

EU digital commissioner Andrus Ansip in a statement said a common set of audiovisual rules were needed across the EU.

"We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European films, protect children and tackle hate speech in a better way," he said.

Children among dead in UK bomb attack

Children are among the victims after a suspected suicide bomber detonated at the Manchester Arena on Monday, the latest in a string of terror attacks to hit Europe.

Letter

An open letter to ministers on the audiovisual directive

The ongoing revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive is a key opportunity to reduce exposure of Europe's children to advertisements of health-harmful products – an opportunity that should not be missed.

News in Brief

  1. EU-Arab League summit proposed for February in Egypt
  2. Stop 'migration blame-game', Tusk tells EU leaders
  3. McDonald's Luxembourg tax deal 'compatible' with EU rules
  4. Danish bank CEO resigns in Russia scandal
  5. Germany seeks to join EU's eastern energy club
  6. UK universities top EU in Chinese ranking
  7. Poland seeks 'Fort Trump' US military base
  8. EU stops Irish case after Apple pays €13bn

Opinion

Building a Europe more resilient to terrorism

One year to the day since the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, the commissioner for home affairs spells out what action the EU is taking now to protect against further attacks.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us