EU considers tougher regulations on social media platforms over extremist content

Tyrone Stewart

EU flagThe European Union (EU) has reportedly reached the end of its tether with social media companies and will look to impose tougher regulations on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

The European Commission is no longer convinced that social media platforms are capable of self-regulating extremist content, reports the Financial Times. As a result, it will publish a draft legislation calling on tougher regulations next month.

Little detail has been provided on how the regulations will work but a source said that the legislation is “likely” to place a one-hour time limit on platforms to remove content flagged by police and other law enforcement.

The EU’s commissioner for security, Julian King, told the Financial Times that there had not been “enough progress” when it comes to the removal of terrorist-related content and that “stronger action” was needed to protect the public.

Any legislation drawn up would still require the approval of the European Parliament and a majority of EU member states in order for the regulations to come into force, so any potentially concrete legal changes are months away at the very least.

The draft regulation raises questions about how well social media platforms of different sizes would be able to cope with the demands. The Facebooks, Twitters, and YouTubes of this world are already armed with thousands of content moderators – and can easily recruit more – alongside the AI technology they utilise to help detect and prioritise the removal of certain content. Smaller platforms may struggle a little more without the same resources at their disposal.

“The difference in size and resources means platforms have differing capabilities to act against terrorist content and their policies for doing so are no always transparent,” said King. “All this leads to such content continuing to proliferate across the internet, reappearing once deleted and spreading from platform to platform.”