Landmark EU rules on addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online entered into force today. Platforms will have to remove terrorist content referred by Member States’ authorities within 1 hour. The rules will also help to counter the spread of extremist ideologies online – a vital part of preventing attacks and addressing radicalisation. The rules include strong safeguards to ensure the full respect of fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and information. The Regulation will also set transparency obligations for online platforms and for national authorities to report on the amount of terrorist content removed, the measures used to identify and remove content, the outcomes of complaints and appeals, as well as the number and type of penalties imposed on online platforms. Member States will be able to sanction non-compliance and to decide on the level of penalties, which will be proportionate to the nature of the infringement. The size of the platform will also be taken into consideration, so as to not impose unduly high penalties relative to the platform’s size. Member States and online platforms offering services in the EU now have one year to adapt their processes. The Regulation applies as of 7 June 2022. Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “With these landmark new rules, we are cracking down on the proliferation of terrorist content online and making the EU’s Security Union a reality. From now on, online platforms will have one hour to get terrorist content off the web, ensuring attacks like the one in Christchurch cannot be used to pollute screens and minds. This is a huge milestone in Europe’s counter-terrorism and anti-radicalisation response.” Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “Taking down terrorist content immediately is crucial to stop terrorists from exploiting the Internet to recruit and encourage attacks and to glorify their crimes. It is equally crucial to protect victims and their families from being confronted with crimes a second time online. The Regulation sets clear rules and responsibilities for Member States and for online platforms, protecting freedom of speech where warranted.” This factsheet provides further information on the new rules. The rules are an essential part of the Commission’s Counter-Terrorism Agenda.
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