The European Union (EU) is considering legislative measures to coordinate how websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google can delete hate speech and incitement to violence, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.
The spread of hate speech and counterfeit news on social media has put companies under increasing pressure to get rid of it quickly.
In a draft document, the European Commission says there is “a great deal of disparity in the methods used to remove illegal content, whether it is incitement to terrorism, hate speech, child sexual abuse material or intellectual property rights violations.
“Such differences may in some cases be justified in certain types of illegal content, for example, but in others they limit the efficiency of the system (by delaying the deletion of terrorist propaganda, for example).” UNHCR says it may introduce legislative or non-legislative measures by the end of the year to address “the fragmentation and legal ambiguity associated with the removal of illegal content websites.”
Last month, Germany unveiled a law that would penalize social networking companies for up to 50 million euros ($ 53.62 million) if it failed to delete hate speech quickly, raising concerns that freedom of expression might be jeopardized.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube of Google and Microsoft agreed last year to a European Union code of conduct to address hate speech on the Internet within 24 hours but was criticized by the commission for not being quick enough.