By Julia Fioretti
BRUSSELS, May 23 (Reuters) – European Union ministers
approved proposals on Tuesday to make social media companies
such as Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube
tackle videos with hate speech on their platforms.
The proposals, which would be the first legislation at EU
level on the issue, still need to be agreed with the European
Parliament before becoming law. But EU lawmakers have similarly
pushed for social media companies to do more to tackle hateful
content on their platforms.
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
Where the provision of videos forms an “essential part” of
the services provided by a social media company, they will have
to take measures to block videos with hate speech, incitement to
hatred and content justifying terrorism from their platforms.
This could include establishing mechanisms for users to flag
“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 will not extend to live streaming, for example
Facebook Live, but just videos stored on a platform, an EU
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.
In addition, member states will be able to require
video-sharing platforms to contribute financially to the
production of European works in the country where they are
established and also where they target audiences.
(Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel
and Tom Heneghan)
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