The European Union Commission has approved legislation that requires social media sites to remove terrorist content from their sites within one hour of being notified by authorities, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.
If they fail to adhere to these new rules, they could be fined up to 4% of their global turnover.
An EU parliamentary committee approved the draft legislation on Monday (April.8th), despite opposition from digital rights groups, tech trade bodies, and some lawmakers.
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They said argued that the one-hour time limit is too short and, combined with the threat of large fines, would encourage companies to err on the side of caution by “over-removing” lawful content.
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Nonetheless, critics argue that a one-hour rule will place a bigger burden on smaller internet companies than on larger platforms, like Facebook and Google, which can use their automated filter tools to monitor uploaded content.
Critics are concerned that large US tech firms would end up becoming the web’s de facto censors.
The UK has also proposed directly regulating social media companies, with senior managers potentially facing large fines if they fail to remove harmful content such as terrorist propaganda, or other offences, like images of child abuse.
“Duty of care”
The regulation would create a statutory “duty of care” for social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter to ensure that they protect the safety of young people using their services.
The rules would be administered by an independent regulator, funded by a levy on internet companies.
Media Secretary, Jeremy Wright, said: “Voluntary actions from the industry to tackle online harms have not been applied consistently or gone far enough.”