EU Finalising Laws To Remove Extremist Videos From Twitter, YouTube and Facebook

By Ian Morris on at

There's always a fine line to tread between freedom of speech and blocking content designed to incite hatred and violence against a specific group or groups of people. The EU is about to enshrine a line of some kind in law though, as it finalises plans to require internet companies to block extreme content.

The proposal was approved on Tuesday but must be put to a vote of the EU member states ahead of becoming law. It's not yet clear how any such proposal might be implemented, and how it would force tech companies to act differently. For the most part, the current state of things is that videos are likely to get removed if you report it and mention that it's extremist content.

Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook have already signed up for a voluntary scheme that requires they remove any video with extremist content within 24 hours. The Verge reports, however, that most are failing to tackle the problem in any meaningful way.

However, with a law on the cards, it might require social media to become much more responsive to specific types of complaints from the public. Perhaps even having all reported videos being viewed by an actual human who can then take appropriate action - and possibly notify the police if they are very worried.

Of course, the problem of extremist content and hate speech won't go away. People can still share things privately or on other sharing services that won't be monitored for such infractions (no matter how much the government might like the chance to). It's a minefield, but with increasing terror acts in the UK and across Europe at least there's a political will to improve things. [via Reuters and The Verge]