10-03-2017, 03:10 PM
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Security Union: Commission steps up efforts to tackle illegal content online
Brussels, 28 September 2017 - The Commission is presenting today guidelines and principles for online platforms to increase the proactive prevention, detection and removal of illegal content inciting hatred, violence and terrorism online.
As announced by President Juncker in his Letter of Intent accompanying his State of the Union speech of 13 September, the European Commission is presenting today guidelines and principles for online platforms. The aim is to increase the proactive prevention, detection and removal of illegal content inciting hatred, violence and terrorism online. The increasing availability and spreading of terrorist material and content that incites violence and hatred online is a serious threat to the security and safety of EU citizens. It also undermines citizens' trust and confidence in the digital environment – a key engine of innovation, growth and jobs.
Following up on the European Council conclusions of June 2017, echoed by G7 and G20 leaders, the proposed measures constitute a first element of the Anti-Terrorism package announced by President Juncker. They will contribute to making the fight against illegal content more effective and will advance the ongoing work to build an effective and genuine EU Security Union and a stronger Digital Single Market.
Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: "We are providing a sound EU answer to the challenge of illegal content online. We make it easier for platforms to fulfil their duty, in close cooperation with law enforcement and civil society. Our guidance includes safeguards to avoid over-removal and ensure transparency and the protection of fundamental rights such as freedom of speech."
Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said:"The rule of law applies online just as much as offline. We cannot accept a digital Wild West, and we must act. The code of conduct I agreed with Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft shows that a self-regulatory approach can serve as a good example and can lead to results. However, if the tech companies don't deliver, we will do it."
Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union, said: "The digital world offers unprecedented opportunities but, in the wrong hands, poses a serious threat to our security. Internet companies have a central role in eliminating online terrorist material by stepping up their efforts and showing corporate social responsibility for the digital age.”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: "The Commission has decided to thoroughly tackle the problem of illegal content online. The situation is not sustainable: in more than 28% of cases, it takes more than one week for online platforms to take down illegal content. Today we provide a clear signal to platforms to act more responsibly. This is key for citizens and the development of platforms."
With the surge of illegal content online, including online terrorist propaganda and xenophobic and racist speech inciting violence and hatred, online platforms have an increasingly important role to play and need to step up their social responsibility. The new guidance issued today calls on online platforms to further boost their efforts to prevent the spread of illegal content. Given their increasingly important role in providing access to information, the Commission expects online platforms to take swift action over the coming months, in particular in the area of terrorism and illegal hate speech – which is already illegal under EU law, both online and offline... More