The European Commission on Thursday published a new set of guidelines meant to pressure digital giants such as Facebook and Google into doing more to assist in the fight against illegal content disseminated through their platforms. The backbone of the new recommendations is presented in the form of the "one-hour rule" that wants online platforms to remove radical content no more than 60 minutes following its publication. The guideline presently only pertains terrorist propaganda, whereas other types of illegal activities aren't targeted as aggressively, though companies are still urged to pursue "proactive measures" in their fight against all kinds of forbidden content. The top executive body of the European Union wants Facebook and Google to invest in additional automated detection mechanisms and share their tools designed to combat illegal activities with smaller firms which lack the resources to develop ones themselves.
Curbing the threat of online propaganda has been one of the priorities on the EU's agenda for over a year now, with the political block still not being entirely happy with the Silicon Valley's efforts to collaborate on the issue. The newly published guidelines aren't legally binding but the EC already signaled it's prepared to move forward with any "necessary legislation" if the digital companies refuse to cooperate to a sufficient degree. The move comes amid a major privacy push on the Old Continent that will see the General Data Protection Regulation come into force this May. Under the new ruleset, digital companies will be much more restricted in regards to how they handle user data and inform their customers about their practices.
Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other firms targeted by the legislation repeatedly stated they're doing what they can to collaborate with Brussels on both ensuring a higher level of user privacy and fighting illegal content, yet the EU remain unsatisfied with their contributions on both fronts. Google is presently also having major antitrust issues in Europe, whereas Facebook has recently endured a number of legal defeats over its privacy practices throughout the continent. The EC didn't clarify when its newly published guidelines may be transformed into laws but encouraged the bloc's member states to issue regular reports on the digital companies' efforts to collaborate with the initiative.