In the weeks following the Christchurch shooting — which spread rapidly across the internet — countries around the world have considered implementing new laws to prevent a repeat.
Australia even proposed a bill that included possible prison time for executives whose companies failed to “expeditiously” remove violent content. On the other hand, the European Union, actually passed a new law.
On Wednesday, the EU Parliament voted to fine big companies — like Facebook, Google, and Twitter — if they failed to quickly remove requested content.
Under the law, “terrorist content,” should be removed within an hour. That includes any text, images, sound recordings or video that incites or solicits terrorist offenses, provides instructions to commit such offenses, or solicits the participation in activities of a terrorist group.
Any companies who “systematically and persistently” fail to do so may face fines of up to 4 percent of their global turnover. However, for small companies who haven’t received a warning before, authorities have to contact them twelve hours before any order is issued.
“There is clearly a problem with terrorist material circulating unchecked on the internet for too long,” said Daniel Dalton, parliament’s rapporteur for the proposal, according to CNBC. “This propaganda can be linked to actual terrorist incidents and national authorities must be able to act decisively. Any new legislation must be practical and proportionate if we are to safeguard free speech.”
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how the EU implements this new policy. For big tech companies, it may signal a major shift in how content is handled.