European Union to tech companies: you have one hour to remove terrorist content

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"While several platforms have been removing more illegal content than ever before ... we still need to react faster", Andrus Ansip, a European Commission official who works on digital issues, said in a statement.

The Commission's guidelines say web companies need humans overseeing content removal to make sure automated tools don't excessively or incorrect remove content.

The commission past year called upon social media companies, including Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Google owner Alphabet Inc, to develop a common set of tools to detect, block and remove terrorist propaganda and hate speech.

The new operational measures are particularly focused on terrorist content with a one-hour rule coming into force that calls on internet companies to remove extremist material within sixty minutes of being alerted to it. Executives told the publication that they have already been "stretched to meet the EU's existing demands in the area". If there is evidence of a serious criminal offense, or that illegal content could pose a threat to the life or safety of European citizens, companies should promptly inform law enforcement authorities. The recommendations are non-binding, but they can still be used as legal references in court, notes The Wall Street Journal.

The recommendations are non-binding but could be considered by the European courts and are created to set guidelines for tech companies on how they should remove objectionable and illegal content that could range from copyright infringements to hate speech.

Social media and other internet companies have been scrutinised heavily by the European Commission (EC) over what it sees as their failure to handle risky content uploaded to their respective platforms.

A Gold Medal & New Faces
A Season 21 episode titled " Boy Meets Curl " resurfaced in the wake of the curling team's win, and the resemblances are uncanny. He responded by losing 35 pounds and starting up his own team, which soon earned the nickname "The Rejects".

According to WSJ, tech companies are wary the guidelines may infringe on freedom of expression.

European free speech advocates have criticized the recommendations as a form of "voluntary censorship" turning Google and Facebook into content arbiters.

"These recommendations apply to all forms of illegal content ranging from terrorist content, incitement to hatred and violence, child sexual abuse material, counterfeit products and copyright infringement", the EC said.

The Commission plans to monitor the issue and decide if further steps, including new legislation, is required.

Both the European Union governments and companies should report their findings to the commission on the terror takedown procedures every three months, which will help the commission determine whether it needs to pursue legislation in the area, the European Union said.

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