EU Commission Moving Forward With Legislation Demanding One Hour Removal Of 'Terrorist Content'
from the ask-and-ye-shall-receive-as-many-fines-as-ye-can-collect dept
Governments — which will process requests from citizens in statutorily-required time almost zero percent of the time — never think the private sector moves fast enough. The government says “Jump” and then immediately asks why the jumping wasn’t already in progress when it ordered the jumping to commence.
Content that isn’t even of the “I know it when I see it” variety isn’t being taken down quickly enough for the EU. Various members have implemented their own 24-hour policies for the removal of everything from “hate speech” to “extremist content” — both particularly difficult to classify immediately when context and newsworthiness must be considered.
The EU Commission is reeling in the leash it has attached to US social media companies. It pitched the idea back in March but now appears to following through with its threats. The latest move towards impossibility is detailed by The Financial Times.
Brussels plans to force companies including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to identify and delete online terrorist propaganda and extremist violence or face the threat of fines.
The European Commission has decided to abandon a voluntary approach to get big internet platforms to remove terror-related videos, posts and audio clips from their websites, in favour of tougher draft regulation due to be published next month.
Here’s the stipulation that will turn popular social media sites into EU-owned ATMs.
Although details of the regulation are still being drawn up inside the commission, a senior EU official said the draft legislation was likely to impose a limit of one hour for platforms to delete material flagged as terrorist content by police and law enforcement bodies.
Imagine imposing this sort of time limit on anything a government agency does. Imagine the outcry about the impossibility of serving citizens in a timely fashion. But nothing’s too short for the private sector, which can set about nuking content indiscriminately just in case, rather than write checks to the EU on an hourly basis.
The impetus is recent terrorist attacks, of course. Any amount of ridiculousness can be excused in the name of public safety and national security, even if the resulting mess has almost zero impact on either of those two concerns.
The incumbent social media sites already have algorithms and live moderation teams addressing questionable content. And it’s still not enough for insatiable government officials. Entrants into the market may as well not even bother. They cannot hope to stay alive, much less compete, if governments are going to hold them directly responsible for content posted by their users.
Then there’s the fact that burying stuff as soon as it shows up does little to aid investigations or the pursuit of terrorists. Ask anyone who’s witnessed the damage done to law enforcement efforts by SESTA/FOSTA — a law touted as a crushing blow to human trafficking. All it’s done is make traffickers harder to find by forcing them to utilize less visible platforms and communication methods. The same thing is happening here and every time “terrorist content” is nuked, it makes martyrs of villains and proves to acolytes and new recruits the West is out to get them.
The EU would be better off letting the voluntary measures already in place go to work. The press for one-hour turn time reeks of rent collection, not honest concerns about public safety.