Monday

26th Jun 2017

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.

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.

Border management going virtual

EU leaders at a summit in Brussels are set to endorse new border control measures, while the head of a Tallinn-based EU agency predicts a future where border management goes virtual.

Opinion

Why Schengen deserves to be saved

Far-right parties around Europe have managed to turn the passport-free Schengen area into a game of political hot potato despite its numerous benefits.

News in Brief

  1. Seasoned finance minister takes over Dutch coalition talks
  2. British PM closes government deal with Northern Irish party
  3. Merkel on collision course with US at G20 summit
  4. Schulz outlines German election strategy, hits out at Merkel
  5. Berlusconi's party sees comeback in Italian local votes
  6. Low turnout in Albanian election set to mandate EU future
  7. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  8. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  3. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  4. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  5. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  6. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  7. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  8. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  9. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  10. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  11. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?

Latest News

  1. China's slow foray into Central and Eastern Europe
  2. Estonia presidency and Google fine This WEEK
  3. UK previews offer on EU nationals' rights
  4. EU approves rescue of Italian banks
  5. Cohesion policy for a stronger Europe
  6. Cheap meat is a bigger problem for climate and health
  7. Ministers to reject minimum parking spaces for electric cars
  8. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders