European Union considers fining tech companies over extremist content

14 September, 2018, 22:15 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Brexit'chaos in Britain will save the EU by deterring other countries from leaving the bloc senior MEP Guy Verhofstadt taunted today

Snapchat was the seventh major IT platform to join the code in May when it teamed up with other players and the European Commission to fight illegal hate speech online, while the Commission made statements about expanding its scope to terrorist content.

The move could also undermine free speech, possibly prompting the removal of entirely legal content for fear of being fined. "This is why the Commission is today proposing new rules to get terrorist content off the web within one hour - the critical window in which the greatest damage is done".

"Systematic failures" to remove content within one hour would expose companies to fines rising to a maximum of 4% of their world-wide revenue for the prior year, according to the proposal. He unveiled proposals to strengthen the EU Economic and Monetary Union, in order to create a stronger Eurozone, and help displace the USA dollar as the leading global trade currency.

He said: "I welcome Prime Minister May's proposal to develop an ambitious new partnership for the future, after Brexit". This appears, from Juncker's comments, to not be a possible outcome.

Juncker also expressed frustration with the EC's policy of allowing a single member state's dissenting vote to block European Union policy, and called for qualified majority voting in specific areas.

European Commission president also blasted EU leaders who sought to undermine democracy and the rule of law and rejected complaints from lawmakers that the EU executive branch has been lenient toward Hungary, Poland and other eastern states like Romania - without naming it. Google and Facebook both said they have invested heavily in using artificial intelligence tools to flag potential terrorist content, and at times to remove it automatically-particularly in the case of content that had been previously removed.

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The proposal also sets up a framework for strengthened co-operation between hosting service providers, European Union states and Europol.

S&D group Chair Udo Bullmann acknowledged Juncker's "political" leadership of the Commission, but did not share Weber's positive assessment. In particular, the regulation provides unnecessary leeway for tech companies to shirk their duties when it comes to removing risky content.

As a follow-up, in March 2018 the Commission recommended a set of operational measures to be taken by companies and Member States to further step up this work.

Earlier guidelines seemingly and explicitly targeted giants in the tech space, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft, which makes sense, given the dominance of their platforms.

The EU's strict proposals are down to the organisation believing that terrorist content online has proven "instrumental" in radicalising and inspiring attacks in several recent terrorist incidents within Europe.

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