The EU Internet Forum brings together EU Interior Ministers, high-level representatives of the major internet companies, Europol, the EU Counter Terrorism Co-ordinator and the European Parliament. The goal is to reach a joint, voluntary approach based on a public-private partnership to detect and address harmful material online.
Senior staff from Ask.fm, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter are all taking part in the launch event of the EU Internet Forum Friday.
According to sources, discussions will focus on how to protect the public from the spread of terrorist material and terrorist exploitation of communication channels "to facilitate and direct their activities".
Discussions will also focus on how to make better use of the Internet to challenge terrorist narratives and online hate speech.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said:
"Terrorists are abusing the internet to spread their poisonous propaganda: that needs to stop. The voluntary partnership we launch today with the internet industry comes at the right time to address this problem. We want swift results."
"This is a new way to tackle this extremist abuse of the internet, and it will provide the platform for expert knowledge to be shared, for quick and operational conclusions to be developed, and powerful and credible voices to challenge extremist narratives," Avramopoulos said.
Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová, speaking at a conference on radicalization in October, said:
"Radicalization is a growing threat across Europe. Online radicalization and the issue of foreign fighters are new challenges that emerged over the last years. Radicalization in prisons is a particular point of concern."
"Member States have started to develop initiatives to tackle this challenge, but many questions remain on how best to address it. Bringing together all these experiences will help shape an efficient criminal justice response," Jourová said.
— Věra Jourová (@VeraJourova) December 3, 2015
Freedom of expression must be safeguarded but not incitement to violence. Internet must be a vehicle for democracy.— Věra Jourová (@VeraJourova) December 3, 2015
The European Commission will push for a faster detection of online terrorism incitement and hate speech, as well as for more effective procedures to take down harmful material.