UPDATE 1-EU states approve plans to make social media firms tackle hate speech

(Adds details on proposals, background)

By Julia Fioretti

BRUSSELS, May 23 (Reuters) – European Union ministers
approved plans on Tuesday to make social media companies such as
Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube
tackle hate speech on their platforms, the first legislation at
EU level on the issue.

The proposals still need to be agreed with the European
Parliament before becoming law, but EU lawmakers have similarly
pushed for social media companies to be included in the

The proliferation of hate speech and fake news on social
media has increased pressure on companies to remove such content
promptly, while internet campaigners have warned an excessive
crackdown could endanger freedom of speech.

Tuesday’s agreement came a day after a suicide bomber killed
at least 22 people at a concert in the English city of
Manchester. Ministers all offered their condolences to the
British delegation.

Social media companies will have to take measures to prevent
the proliferation of hate speech, incitement to hatred and
content justifying terrorism on their platforms. They could
include establishing mechanisms for users to flag such content.

“We need to take into account new ways of watching videos,
and find the right balance to encourage innovative services,
promote European films, protect children and tackle hate speech
in a better way,” said Andrus Ansip, EU Commission
Vice-President for the digital single market.

The proposals also include a quota of 30 percent of
European films and TV shows on video streaming platforms such as
Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, up from the 20
percent originally proposed by the European Commission.
(Reporting by Julia Fioretti, editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)

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