The Commission steps up efforts to tackle illegal content online
Online platforms are important drivers of innovation and growth in the digital economy. They have enabled an unprecedented access to information and exchanges as well as new market opportunities, notably for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
However, the increasing availability and spreading of terrorist material and content that incites to violence and hatred online is not only a serious threat to the security and safety of EU citizens, it also undermines citizens' trust and confidence in the digital environment – a key engine of innovation, growth and jobs.
As announced by President Juncker in his Letter of Intent accompanying his State of the Union speech of 13 September, the European Commission presented today guidelines and principles for online platforms to step up more proactive prevention, detection and removal of illegal content inciting hatred, violence and terrorism online.
The Commission invites online platforms to step up their efforts to remove illegal content online and proposes a number of practical measures to ensure faster detection and removal of illegal content online:
- Establishing easily accessible mechanisms to allow users to flag illegal content and to invest in automatic detection technologies, including to prevent the reappearance of illegal content online
- Cooperate with law enforcement and other competent authorities, including by sharing evidence
- Allow trusted flaggers such as specialised entities with specific expertise in identifying illegal content, and dedicated structures for detecting and identifying such content online, to have a privileged relationship, while ensuring sufficient standards as regards training, quality assurance or safeguards
- Use voluntary, proactive measures to detect and remove proactively illegal content and step up cooperation and the use of automatic detection technologies
- Take measures against repeat infringers
- Use and development of automatic technologies to prevent the re-appearance of illegal content online
The proposed measures follow up on the European Council conclusions of June 2017, echoed by G7 and G20 leaders, and constitute a first element of the Anti-Terrorism package announced by President Juncker. The actions will contribute to making the fight against illegal content more effective and bring forward the on-going work to build an effective and genuine EU Security Union and a stronger Digital Single Market.
The Commission will carefully monitor progress made by the online platforms in the next months and assess whether additional measures are needed, in order to ensure the swift and proactive detection and removal of illegal content online, including possible legislative measures to complement the existing regulatory framework. This work will be completed by May 2018.
28 September 2017