EU President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday announced [transcript, PDF] the proposal of new rules for requiring the removal of terrorist content from the internet within one hour.
The one-hour rule would require [press release] that the content be removed within one hour of receiving a removal notification from national competent authorities. Failure to remove content within the hour can result in fines up to 4 percent of the previous business year’s global turnover.
The new rules will also define terrorist content as “material that incites or advocates committing terrorist offences, promotes the activities of a terrorist group or provides instruction in techniques for committing terrorist offences.” Service providers will also be required to take proactive measures to protect their platforms from terrorist content. Each service provider will have a designated point of contact to facilitate communication with the member states.
Content that is unjustifiably removed will have to be reinstated. The European Commission has stated that “[s]trong safeguards will also be introduced to protect freedom of speech on the internet and ensure only terrorist content is targeted.” Human oversight and verification will be required if automatic detection tools are used. Service providers and member states will also have to publish annual transparency reports.
Several companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat and Dailymotion have previously committed to combat illegal hate speech and quickly removing illegal xenophobic and racist content within 24 hours.
The EU has enacted multiple laws in recent years regarding information on the internet. After the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation was put into force in May, a USD $8.8 billion lawsuit was filed [JURIST report] by an activist against Google, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. Many countries across the world have made efforts to regulate personal data [JURIST op-ed] on the internet.