Harmful content must be removed within one hour, with additional safeguards
Exceptions for educational and journalistic work purposes
No obligation to monitor or filter all content, but service providers can take voluntary proactive measures
Parliament and Council agreed on Thursday on a new law that will help to fight the dissemination of terrorist content online.
The new law targets texts, images, sound recordings or videos that incite, solicit or contribute to terrorist offences, provide instructions for such offences or solicit people to participate in a terrorist group. It also aims to combat content that provides guidance on how to make and use explosives, firearms and other weapons for terrorist purposes. The definition of terrorist offences are in line with the Directive on combating terrorism.
Rule to remove harmful content within one hour
Internet platforms have to remove terrorist content or disable access to it in all member states as soon as possible and in any event within one hour after they have received a removal order. Removal orders may be sent from authorities in any member state to an internet platform set up in any other EU member state. The competent authorities in the member state where the service provider has its main establishment have the right to scrutinise the removal order and suspend it if they consider it violates fundamental rights.
Exceptions for educational and journalistic purposes
If material is disseminated for educational, journalistic, artistic or research purposes or to prevent or counter terrorism, it will not be considered terrorist content. This also includes content expressing polemic or controversial views in a public debate.
No general obligation to monitor or filter all content
Internet platforms will not be obliged to monitor or filter all content. Nonetheless, if they are exposed to terrorist content, they will have to take specific measures to protect their services against its dissemination. The service provider decides on those measures. Service providers will also need to publish annual transparency reports on action taken against the dissemination of terrorist content.
Rapporteur Patrik JAKI (ECR, PL) said: “The internet is where terrorists recruit, share propaganda and coordinate attacks. Today we delivered on the most important issues for the European Parliament. There will be no mandatory internet filtering. Content distributed for educational, journalistic, artistic or research purposes or content distributed to raise awareness against terrorist activity will be exempt. At the same time, the member states will always be able to suspend a removal order if they consider it violates fundamental rights. Under this law, parties have the right to appeal. The fight against terrorism is one of the European Parliament’s priorities. It is therefore an important day for the entire European community, which is gaining a new tool for combating terrorism.”
The deal will now be finalised at technical level. Both Parliament and Council will then have to adopt if formally.
The proposal on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online was tabled by the Commission in 2018.