'In a new attack on free speech, the European Union (EU) is calling on major social media and Internet firms including Facebook, Twitter and Google to automatically and immediately censor online material.
On March 1, the EU Commission called on companies and EU states to ensure “the detection and removal of illegal content through reactive (so called ‘notice and action’) or proactive measures.” It also identified a vast amount of material targeted for censorship. According to the Commission, its recommendations apply to all forms of “content ranging from terrorist content, incitement to hatred and violence, child sexual abuse material, counterfeit products and copyright infringement.”
“Considering that terrorist content is most harmful in the first hours of its appearance online, all companies should remove such content within one hour from its referral as a general rule,” it said.
The measures the EU is discussing would force companies to create programs, answerable to no one, to trawl the Internet and delete users’ content. This would consolidate censorship measures the EU proposed last year via the EU Internet Forum, which called on tech firms to work to develop automatic removal of online content.
The EU hailed moves in this direction that have already taken place. According to the EU,
“Twitter reported that three quarters of the 300,000 accounts removed between January and June 2017 were deleted before posting their first Tweet. According to YouTube, more than 150,000 videos have been removed since June 2017. Once aware of a piece of terrorist content, Facebook removes 83 percent of subsequently uploaded copies within one hour of upload.”
The EU justified its policy with shopworn claims about the fight against terrorism.'
Read more: European Union Demands Google, Facebook Step Up Internet Censorship