The European Union is planning to legally oblige social media giants like Facebook and Twitter to sanction hate speech posted on its platforms, according to recent reports. EU ministers on Tuesday voted in favor of certain law proposals that would force social networks to directly tackle troubling content including hate speech and fake news, industry insiders report. The initial proposal is exclusively focused on videos though it may be expanded to specifically include other content forms including text and images in the future as the draft has yet to be discussed and modified by the European Parliament before being adopted as legislation, which may happen later this year.
Among other things, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, and other social media platforms will be required to promptly remove videos containing hate speech and content related to promoting terrorism, something that has been plaguing popular online networks in recent years and was the cause of a recent advertiser boycott of YouTube that may lead to the Google-owned company losing hundreds of millions in revenue. The exact mechanics of identifying illegal video content haven't been clarified by the initial proposal though the legislation itself may be enough to prompt social media giants to further advance such mechanisms. According to one European Commission official, the regulators on the Old Continent are still in the process of drafting laws that would efficiently sanction illegal online videos without stifling innovation.
The initial proposal is only focused on sanctioning videos uploaded to social platforms and isn't designed to tackle content that's broadcasted in real time, one EU official said, without clarifying on whether the European Commission also has concrete plans to deal with live content in the future. According to the same draft, member countries of the European Union will be able to ask for financial contributions to domestic film industry from online video platforms operating in their territory, including the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It's currently unclear whether the proposal will be modified in a significant manner once it reaches the European Parliament, but an update on the situation is expected to follow later this year.