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    EU Wants to Fine Internet Companies That Don’t Remove Extremist Content Quickly

    © Sputnik / Natalia Seliverstova
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    Internet companies could face stiff fines by the European Commission if a new proposal to impose penalties on web pages for failing to remove extremist content after only one hour’s notice is passed.

    The European Union's executive body proposed a new law Wednesday that seeks to limit "propaganda that prepares, incites or glorifies acts of terrorism" online, AP reported, by forcing internet companies to pay for not removing it in a timely fashion.

    Under the proposed legislation, which must obtain the support both of member nations and the European Parliament in order to become law, internet companies would not only have to remove the content on time, but also take measures such as installing automated systems to prevent removed content from being reuploaded, or face a huge fine: 4 percent of their annual global turnover.

    AP noted that this fine looks like $4.4 billion for Google, which owns the video hosting site YouTube.

    In his state of the union address Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that Google, Twitter, Facebook and other companies had been warned in March to speed up their voluntary removal of illicit content if they didn't want to face legislation requiring them to do so, but regulators were not satisfied with the progress made since then, the Times of Israel reported.

    In turn, the EC will ask national governments to create the necessary support structures to enable identification of extremist content, to impose the sanctions as required, and to handle the appeals process for those charges.

    "We share the European Commission's desire to react rapidly to terrorist content and keep violent extremism off our platforms," Google said in a statement Wednesday. "We welcome the focus the Commission is bringing to this and we'll continue to engage closely with them, member states and law enforcement on this crucial issue."

    Since 2015, the industry has been voluntarily cooperating to stop the misuse of internet hosting sites by extremist groups, even creating a "database of hashes" to streamline the process, Reuters noted.

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    Tags:
    Legislation, fines, extremist content, regulation, internet, European Commission
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