SOCIAL NETWORKS: Users whose content and messages have been removed will be able to challenge this decision by filing an appeal
The European Union (EU) will impose the removal within an hour of photos, videos and messages “of a terrorist nature ” on the Internet. An agreement was reached on Thursday between MEPs and representatives of the member states for the adoption of future regulation.
This regulation, proposed in 2018 by the European Commission, has yet to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. The French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, was delighted with a “major step forward, carried by France”.
Penalties for non-withdrawal
The compromise provides that a member state can send a withdrawal order to a site established in another EU country. The State in which the platform is located is however granted a right of inspection after the withdrawal, to verify within 72 hours that the decision complies with European law.
Member States can sanction non-compliance with these withdrawals. The penalties must be proportionate to the nature and size of the platforms. The definition of “terrorist content” is that of the 2017 Directive on the fight against terrorism. The regulations provide for the protection of certain content (educational, journalistic, artistic, research and awareness-raising).
Freedom of expression guaranteed
The agreement comes at the height of the summit of EU heads of state and government. They are due to discuss security and the fight against terrorism this Friday. In a few days, Brussels must also announce projects to better regulate web platforms.
“It is an important success that we finally have in place a mandatory one-hour deadline,” said one of the negotiators. “Terrorist propaganda has played a key role in the recent attacks in Europe. The Renew Europe group was also satisfied, the one-hour deadline to guarantee freedom of expression “by removing only illegal content.”
Fears about fundamental freedoms
The NGO Liberties, however, expressed its concerns, deeming that the regulation constituted a “threat to fundamental rights”. The protection of certain content is certainly an “improvement” compared to the initial text, according to Eva Simon.
But this progress is not enough to “allay the concerns” for the NGO. “The fear is that authoritarian regimes in the EU will use a vague definition of terrorist content to censor the Internet and limit critical voices,” said the spokesperson for the movement.