"Once social media companies and websites began acquiescing to EU Commission demands for content takedown, the end result was obvious. Whatever was already in place would continually be ratcheted up. And every time companies failed to do the impossible, the EU Commission would appear on their virtual doorsteps, demanding they be faster and more proactive.
Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft all agreed to remove hate speech and other targeted content within 24 hours, following a long bitching session from EU regulators about how long it took these companies to comply with takedown orders. As Tim Geigner pointed out late last year, the only thing tech companies gained from this acquiescence was a reason to engage in proactive censorship.
Because if a week or so, often less, isn't enough, what will be? You can bet that if these sites got it down to 3 days, the EU would demand it be done in 2. If 2, then 1. If 1? Well, then perhaps internet companies should become proficient in censoring speech the EU doesn't like before it ever appears.
Even proactive censorship isn't enough for the EU Commission. It has released a new set of recommendations [PDF] for social media companies that sharply increases mandated response time. The Commission believes so-called 'terrorist' content should be so easy to spot, companies will have no problem staying in compliance.
Given that terrorist content is typically most harmful in the first hour of its appearance online and given the specific expertise and responsibilities of competent authorities and Europol, referrals should be assessed and, where appropriate, acted upon within one hour, as a general rule.
Yes, the EU Commission wants terrorist content vanished in under an hour and proclaims, without citing authorities, that the expertise of government agencies will make compliance un-impossible. The Commission also says it should be easy to keep removed content from popping up somewhere else, because it's compiled a 'Database of Hashes.'
Another bad idea that cropped up a few years ago makes a return in this Commission report. The EU wants to create intermediary liability for platforms under the concept of 'duty of care.' It would hold platforms directly responsible for not preventing the dissemination of harmful content. This would subject social media platforms to a higher standard than that imposed on European law enforcement agencies involved in policing social media content."
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