New Commission guidelines ask social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to take down more illegal content like terrorist propaganda and hate speech, and to make sure it stays off the internet by using technologies to monitor what users share.
The guidelines amp up the Commission’s stance on how platforms should react to illegal posts. For now, the EU executive is sticking to a voluntary approach, but it will have political effects. The Commission published its communication on Thursday (28 September), one day before EU heads of state meet in Estonia at a summit dedicated to digital policy.
Germany passed a controversial law earlier this year requiring social media firms to remove hate speech within 24 hours after they are notified about it or face hefty fines. France and other EU countries have also expressed interest in drafting their own national laws.
The Commission wants to stop member states from creating different rules across the bloc, and the new guidelines are one way for the Commission to step up pressure on tech companies. If this voluntary step doesn’t push firms to remove more illegal content, the Commission announced that it may propose a binding EU law by May 2018.