EU Parliament calls for criminal charges against internet companies not removing material promoting terrorism; critics fear censorship

Author: Catherine Stupp, Euractiv, Published on:

"MEPs want to make internet companies liable for radical content online", 26 Nov 2015

The European Parliament voted…[on] 25 November in favour of a report that calls for criminal charges against online firms if they do not remove material from their websites that promote terrorism…The report is non-binding, but comes ahead of the European Commission's launch of a new partnership next week to target radicals online with the voluntary help of tech companies. The Parliament report takes a hardline approach, clashing with the Commission's voluntary initiative by calling for criminal charges to be imposed on companies…French MEP Rachida Dati (Les Républicains), rapporteur on the own-initiative report, said before yesterday's vote that it should be a “European crime” if private companies don't remove material reported to them as radical…Critics of Dati's report argue that threatening internet companies with criminal charges could lead to overzealous censorship and might spur backlash from people whose posts are removed…[T]he Commission has also faced criticism for its plans to work with companies that volunteer to remove radical content, which could leave social media users no legal backing to oppose those decisions if their posts are unfairly censored…[Refers to Facebook, Google]

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