The Europian Union (EU) is currently considering legislative measures to unify the approaches of all online platforms in taking down hate speech on the internet. Facebook, Twitter, Google and other websites' ways of dealing with the problem should come together, according to EU, reported Reuters.
There is a "high degree of variation in the approaches taken to removal of illegal content - be it incitement to terrorism, hate speech, child sexual abuse material, or infringements of intellectual property rights," the Europian Commission says in a draft policy paper. "Such divergences may be justified in some cases (e.g. for certain types of illegal content); but in other cases, they reduce the effectiveness of the system (e.g. by delaying the removal of terrorist propaganda)."
The commission also informed that it will come up with legislative and/or non-legislative measures by the end of this year to address "legal fragmentation and uncertainty related to the removal of illegal content by online platforms".
Just about last year Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google's YouTube agreed to an EU code of conduct, under which they agreed to tackle online hate speeches within 24 hours. Lately, the tech companies have been under increasing pressure to tackle this problem fast and smooth. However, as per the tech companies its difficult because they are not liable for what the users post, but it's their duty to take down if something gets reported as illegal.
The draft policy paper says that EU executive is exploring options to clarify the role of online platforms without impinging on the liability exemption. "The Commission considers that a more transparent and predictable environment would create incentives for platforms to adopt proactive measures to maintain a healthy online ecosystem."
As per Reuters, one EU official stated that the Commission was considering to adopt so-called "good Samaritan" principle whereby online platforms would not be held liable for content if they actively searched for illegal content on their websites, hoping this would make companies more proactive.
Last month Germany introduced a law, according to which social media companies can be fined up to $53.62 million, if they fail to remove hate postings quickly, prompting concerns it could threaten free speech.