EU mulls legislation in the fight against online hate speech | Reuters

By Julia Fioretti | BRUSSELS BRUSSELS The European Union is considering legislative measures to harmonise how online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google take down hate speech and incitement to violence, a draft document seen by Reuters shows.The proliferation of hate speech and fake news on social media has led to companies coming under increased pressure to take it down quickly.In a draft policy paper, the European Commission says there is a 'high degree of variation in the approaches taken to removal of illegal content - be it incitement to terrorism, hate speech, child sexual abuse material, or infringements of intellectual property rights'.'Such divergences may be justified in some cases (e.g. for certain types of illegal content); but in other cases they reduce the effectiveness of the system (e.g.

Reuters April 23, 2017 08:14:49 IST
EU mulls legislation in the fight against online hate speech
| Reuters

EU mulls legislation in the fight against online hate speech
 Reuters

By Julia Fioretti
| BRUSSELS

BRUSSELS The European Union is considering legislative measures to harmonise how online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google take down hate speech and incitement to violence, a draft document seen by Reuters shows.The proliferation of hate speech and fake news on social media has led to companies coming under increased pressure to take it down quickly.In a draft policy paper, the European Commission says there is a "high degree of variation in the approaches taken to removal of illegal content - be it incitement to terrorism, hate speech, child sexual abuse material, or infringements of intellectual property rights"."Such divergences may be justified in some cases (e.g. for certain types of illegal content); but in other cases they reduce the effectiveness of the system (e.g. by delaying the removal of terrorist propaganda)."

The Commission says it may come forward with legislative and/or non-legislative instruments by the end of the year to address "legal fragmentation and uncertainty related to the removal of illegal content by online platforms".Germany last month unveiled a law which would fine social media companies up to 50 million euros ($53.62 million) if they fail to remove hate postings quickly, prompting concerns it could threaten free speech.Facebook, Twitter, Google's YouTube and Microsoft last year agreed to an EU code of conduct to tackle online hate speech within 24 hours, but were criticised by the Commission for not being fast enough.

Companies say they are in a difficult position as they are not liable for content posted on their platforms and not required to actively monitor what goes up. However, they do have to take down illegal content when notified.The paper, which is a mid-term review of the Commission's strategy to create a digital single market in Europe, says the EU executive is exploring options to clarify the role of online platforms without impinging on the liability exemption.

"The Commission considers that a more transparent and predictable environment would create incentives for platforms to adopt proactive measures to maintain a healthy online ecosystem."An EU official said the Commission was considering adopting a so-called "good Samaritan" principle whereby online platforms would not be held liable for content if they actively searched for illegal content on their websites, hoping this would make companies more proactive.The mid-term review should be adopted in May. (Reporting by Julia Fioretti; editing by Andrew Roche)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Greek police clash with protesters in rally against mandatory vaccinations
World

Greek police clash with protesters in rally against mandatory vaccinations

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police used teargas and water cannon to disperse people who had gathered in central Athens on Saturday to protest against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. More than 4,000 people rallied outside the Greek parliament for a third time this month to oppose mandatory inoculations for some workers, such as healthcare and nursing staff.

Two Turkish soldiers killed in attack in northern Syria
World

Two Turkish soldiers killed in attack in northern Syria

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Two Turkish soldiers were killed and two were wounded in an attack on their armoured vehicle in northern Syria, and Turkish forces immediately launched retaliatory fire, Turkey's defence ministry said on Saturday. "Our punitive fire against terrorist positions is continuing," the statement on Twitter on said. It did not specify where the attack occurred, but media reports said it was in the al-Bab area.

Brazilians take to streets again to demand Bolsonaro's impeachment
World

Brazilians take to streets again to demand Bolsonaro's impeachment

By Marcelo Rochabrun SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Protesters took to the streets in several Brazilian cities on Saturday to demand the impeachment of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose popularity has fallen in recent weeks amid corruption scandals against the backdrop of the pandemic. This week, news broke that Brazil's defense ministry told congressional leadership that next year's elections would not take place without amending the country's electronic voting system to include a paper trail of each vote. Bolsonaro has suggested several times without evidence that the current system is prone to fraud, allegations that Brazil's government has denied