EU in 'Final Stages' of Law to Force Big Tech Censorship of 'Extremist' Content

in politics •  2 months ago

Google, Facebook, Twitter and other internet companies are the targets of legislation being proposed by the European Commission. If made into law, it will require companies to cooperate with law enforcement authorities and remove 'extremist' content.

This legislation comes as a result of a threat issued by the European Commission this past March. They told the tech giants that they had 3 months to show they were voluntarily and rapidly removing extremist content, or else face legislation to force them to do it. The timer is up, and the EC is making 'good' on it's threat. The legislation calls for companies to be required to remove the 'offending' content within one hour of being notified.


European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, who is also in charge of consumers and gender equality, is behind this new legislation, saying the proposal is in it's "final stage" and would be ready later this month. EU governments and the European Parliament would then approve and enforce the law.

The EU and big tech have previously collaborated to create an online "code of conduct" in 2016 which aimed to fight racism and xenophobia in Europe. The new legislation seems to take it's steps from the former online code, to codify into law, said EU security commissioner Julian King. It looks to identify and remove all content that is deemed to be from terrorists and inciting hatred or violence among other reasons like child sexual abuse material, counterfeit products, and copyright infringement.

Despite the details being kept hidden, the Financial Times learned that law enforcement will be in charge of flagging content for censorship. Hate speech in the online code is currently explained as "all conduct publicly inciting to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin."

It seems like these measures are less about keeping people safe, and more about giving states and superstates like the EU power to control the content people see for their own political purposes. Who will be deemed 'extremist'? Maybe anything that is opposed to the establishment. Maybe anyone who is against government tyranny.

Alex Jones and other similar voices of unpopular opinion would surely fit the criteria for many. In recent weeks the Left has championed the removal from of Alex Jones from Facebook, YouTube and other big tech sites. He has been called a terrorist by many. Those who speak against the establishment in the EU will likely have a larger watchful eye on their activity that threatens to remove them from popular sites.


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I've been saying this for a long time now, Chinese style censorship is coming. It's actually already here, Europe is the testbed and like many of Europes policies they'll be rolled out across the U.S and the Asia Pacific.

Case in point being the GDPR. People think it's a great idea, people assume it's to protect consumers and some provisions do, but it's nothing more than another policy designed to control both consumers and companies. It's the precursor to regulating online companies, a test.

As we have seen in the U.S, American companies voluntarily implemented GDPR compliance into their apps (especially with European users). It's a case of legislation only applicable to Europe overextending its reach to other countries and I bet they love it.

It's a scary time for the internet and freedom.


GDPR is a HUGE pain in the ass for businesses (I should know), but it does offer better theoretical consumer protection with regards to their data.
That being said, I see GDPR no more than a trojan horse: the EU shows their people that "Hey, we care about you and our digital laws are good for you". People see that GDPR is inherently beningn, so in the future they won't scrutinize internet legislation as much, and just assume it isn't bad, because GDPR wasn't bad.


Yeah, that's how I see it too. First there, then across the Western world :/

"Extremist Content" is a great way to sell Censorship. Total and complete bullshit IMO. I don't support extremists actions, but if I'm being honest right now some of the most extreme actions being taken are by those claiming they are "protecting the people".


In Communist countries, there is usually a treason punishment if you say "The government sucks!". Saying that definitely labels you as an extremist in those countries. And they also have a people's commission and the works ("neutral fact checkers" wink wink) who deem what is extremist and what is not.


Yeah, that is where things are heading with all the draconian control over freedom :/


Yup, governments do much worse than Alex Jones and others who are cheered off of platforms for speaking their minds.

The question this raises for me is if it is possible (showing my ignorance here) to have a social (or any website) that blocks a country (or whole continent in this case) to avoid restrictive laws as they are pushing. The UK has gotten really bad at arresting their citizens for speaking up about their concerns, deeming it as hate speech. The thought they could trample all websites no matter where you are in the world is alarming.


Just bury it somewhere in the terms of use that you can't be in the EU. If the EU government tries to sue you, you can say that to your knowledge, you don't have anybody in the EU using your site. If a user sues you for breaking EU law, then argue that they broke the contract by being in the EU.


Yes, unless a VPN is used. IPs are relative to regions they are used in. Yeah Europe has it a lot worse than the US. These laws are going to spread if the docile populace accepts them in some areas, validating their implementation.

Yea man that’s the thing who will be deemed extremist!! People like Alex jobes etc, they will still do nothing about the real ‘extremists’ they know about and have all of their messages, data, emails about recruitment, plans to kill etcetc, but they will target people spitting truth as the extremists! It’s another smokescreen to let more shit go wrong.... sorry for the negative comment, but to me it seems like they’re blowing smoke to make Europeans think they will start protecting them but they will be going after harmless reporters like Alex jones etc rather than murdered and child rapists


That's right.


Yup, facebook lets pro terror groups and talk go on... but anti-Left talk isn't allowed..

Go Vera - your cheque is in the mail!

It's like in China. There full internet censorship has been installed to remove immoral and pornograhic content. Then of course this is still among the easiest things to find online from China. A scapegoat is always needed. Europeans love their porn so only terrorism and pedophila remains

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Yeah, get rid of shit, but then that's the segway to targeting other stuff.

And so the pace of the march towards tyranny increases as everything other than the official narrative will be censored as 'hate speech.'


Yep! Smokescreen and crazy shite... make us belive they’re doing some good until they censor the truth


Evil veiled in the appearance of good ;)


Yup, that's the foreseeable direction it's headed in :/

Thanks for sharing! 1984 has finally arrived!


Sadly it sure has!


I think it's been arriving in stages for a long time...

Big Tech has a duty to fight terrorism by using tools and algorithms that can detect hateful content against an entity, which is often propagated by extremist groups. Big Tech can use tools that can detect and check hate content, so that it doesn't become more viral on online platforms.


Sure, but it's a step towards censorship of other things as well.

I will only say specifically who dictates what is and what does not offend everything in this field is always determined by a minority if at this time everything is marking a violent tilde and not tolerable but we must have faith that the times that do not give way back prosper and not allow these unnecessary abuses to freedom of expression in public and social networks


Tolerance has it's limits, but these giants made their way by tolerating a them all this time until now...

The EU wants more and more authority for every day.

I'm worried about where this will end up...


yeah, it can spread over the Western world and our freedom of speech will be hampered :/

The censorship will continue to increase, we have to do something to stop it.


It takes people acting in unison, which likely won't happen :/

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Wo0t I went up a bit ;)

Few month ago Google has been hit with a record-breaking €4.3 billion fine by EU regulators for breaking antitrust laws.