The European Union is deeply concerned over how online platforms can be easily manipulated to spread extremist material and influence elections on the continent. To combat this, Europe demands companies like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Microsoft react faster to online threats – specifically, within one hour of the content being flagged. Reportedly, this move is considered to be rather heavy-handed, as in 2016, companies were only required to review and remove a majority of hate speech within 24 hours. While its aim to tighten the control on online content is applauded, the announcement has also caused friction among the tech industry. Critics are afraid that the new rule will restrict the free speech of the Europeans, while tech experts describe the one-hour turn-around time as a “harm to the effectiveness of the service providers’ take down system rather than help”.
Written by Uyen Le-Khuc