Under current guidelines, the European Commission asks social media sites to delete terrorist content within an hour of detection. This includes material that incites violence, provides attack funding or promotes hate speech.
However, the guidelines, for the moment, are just that. They’re entirely voluntary. It’s a tactic that hasn’t always worked for Brussels in the past, with the voluntary standardization of charging connectors being a recent example.
It seems that once again, Brussels isn’t happy with the progress. EU commissioner for security Julian King says it may “take stronger action”. Speaking to the Financial Times, he revealed plans to enact regulation on sites, regardless of size.
“We cannot afford to relax or become complacent in the face of such a shadowy and destructive phenomenon,” he said.
Draft in the Works
The details are still being worked on in a draft, but King says all sites would have one hour to remove terrorist content. King didn’t explicitly mention the punishment, but FT says fines are possible, and the EU is no stranger to handing them out.
Even so, it’s a methodology some members of the Commission are likely to disagree with. Guidelines have been successful in the past, and burgeoning sites may struggle to build the infrastructure to deal with content that quickly. This could, in turn, hamper innovation.
The regulation is currently in draft format that would affect all websites. It would have to receive approval from a majority of 28 EU member states to pass but should stop EU countries from taking individual action.
According to the BBC, the draft legislation will be published next month, when more details will become available.