(Brussels) -- The European Commission has today released its regulation on terrorist content online. This legislation is badly needed in the fight against terrorist propaganda and recruitment online, and today marks a step forward in how Europe fights extremism online.
While the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) welcomes the legislation and the European Commission stepping in to fill the gap that the digital platforms could not, it is flawed in crucial respects. In particular, the regulation provides unnecessary leeway for tech companies to shirk their duties when it comes to removing dangerous content.
As it stands, the legislation gives tech companies one hour from the time a piece of content is flagged as being extremist. However, the technology exists for these companies to remove extremist content as soon as it is uploaded. It is dangerous to extend the deadline for removal – in just two hours an extremist video can receive hundreds of views.
The legislation should force tech companies to use the tools available to them, such as the CEP’s eGLYPH technology, to detect and remove extremist content as soon as it is uploaded. The deadline for the removal of such content should therefore be one hour from the time of upload, not one hour from when it is flagged.
CEP applauds the work of Commissioner King and Counter-terrorism Coordinator Kerchove to date, and calls on them to continue their good work and implement a law that will provide true protection for all European citizens by addressing this defect.
“We welcome the European Commission's step forward in the fight against extremist content online but, unfortunately, it falls short of instilling a clear solution to the growing problem of illegal content online. The fact that the Commission is proposing a Regulation, as opposed to a Directive, shows the seriousness of the issue. We, at the Counter Extremism Project, have seen that content is downloaded and consistently re-uploaded across the same platforms it was previously taken down from. This cannot continue. Reliable enforcement and automated technology so that content can be taken down within one hour of upload needs to be included in the proposed draft." - David Ibsen, Executive Director of The Counter Extremism Project