Tuesday

26th Jan 2021

EU rules to take terror content down in an hour agreed

  • Platforms such as Facebook, Youtube or Twitter will themselves decide how to take down terror content (Photo: Rami Al-zayat)

The European Parliament and the European Council have reached a provisional agreement on rules designed to prevent the dissemination of terrorist content online, pushing companies to remove or disable access to such material within one hour.

Under the new rules, it will be up to member states to introduce penalties in case of non-compliance.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"The EU is working to stop terrorists from using the internet to radicalise, recruit and incite to violence," the council said in a statement on Thursday (10 December).

Rules will apply to all online providers offering services in the EU - irrespective of the location of their headquarters.

Authorities from any member state will be able to send removal orders to online platforms.

But providers can appeal to "competent authorities" to revise the removal order - or suspend it, if they consider it violates fundamental rights.

However, the text fails to ensure that the "competent authorities" in charge of issuing removal orders are an independent judicial or administrative authority, the NGO Statewatch warned.

Platforms like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter will themselves decide how to take down such content.

However, these providers are expected to prepare publicly-available transparency reports on action taken against the dissemination of terrorist content in a given year.

EU legislators said that the proposed rules ensure that "the rights of ordinary users and businesses will be respected, including freedom of expression and information and freedom to conduct a business," with "effective remedies" for both users and providers.

However, civil society groups warned earlier this year that the use of automated filtering tools (without human intervention) would violate freedom of expression, and the right not to be subjected to automated decision-making processes.

"Automated content-removal potentially endangers the free flow of lawful information and the freedom to access information. Upload filters lack the understanding of linguistic or cultural differences and are unable to assess the context of expressions accurately," a group of NGOs said in an open letter.

The partial compromise was reached on the eve of EU leaders discussing security issues and the recent terrorist attacks that have taken place in Austria, Germany and France.

EU leaders called on Friday (11 December) for "swiftly adopting the proposal on addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online," stressing the need to improve data cooperation to combat crimes.

The deal needs to be finalised at a technical level and be formally approved by MEPs and EU ministers.

The proposal was tabled by the European Commission in 2018.

Internal EU report: Far-right terrorist attacks rise

An internal document drafted from the EU presidency highlights a rise in attacks by right-wing terrorists. The paper says the algorithms behind social media giants not only fuels violent radicalisation but also spreads right-wing violent extremist ideology.

News in Brief

  1. AstraZeneca told to meet EU vaccine supply commitments
  2. Estonia to get first woman prime minister
  3. Turkey and Greece to hold Mediterranean security talks
  4. Dutch police detain 240 in anti-lockdown protests
  5. Renewables overtake fossil fuels in EU electricity mix
  6. France's top scientist warns of corona 'emergency'
  7. Growing appetite for Northern Ireland independence
  8. Surge in support for Portuguese far-right party

EU rolls out vaccine, as UK-variant spreads

Most EU member states began rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 on Sunday, as a more contagious variant from the UK begins to spread on the continent.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Navalny protests sharpen EU sanctions talks
  2. Why Russia politics threaten European security
  3. MEPs call for workers to have 'right to disconnect'
  4. Reality bites EU's 'No More Morias' pledge
  5. Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity
  6. Vaccine delay and Russia sanctions debates This WEEK
  7. Will EU ever take action to stop Israeli settlements?
  8. EU leaders keep open borders, despite new corona variant risk

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us