The European Commission has published its recommendation on operational measures to tackle illegal content online
In its Communication of September 2017 on tackling illegal content online, the European Commission promised to monitor progress in tackling illegal content online and take a view on whether additional measures were needed. As a follow-up, the Commission is now recommending a set of operational measures to be taken by companies and Member States to further step up this work before it determines whether it will be necessary to propose legislation. 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.
Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said:
"Online platforms are becoming people's main gateway to information, so they have a responsibility to provide a secure environment for their users. What is illegal offline is also illegal online. While several platforms have been removing more illegal content than ever before – showing that self-regulation can work – we still need to react faster against terrorist propaganda and other illegal content which is a serious threat to our citizens' security, safety and fundamental rights."
The operational measures in question include:
Measures may differ according to the nature of the illegal content, and the Recommendation encourages companies to follow the principle of proportionality when removing illegal content.
The Commission will monitor the actions taken in response to the Recommendation and determine whether additional steps, including, if necessary legislation, are required. The Commission will also continue its analytical work, working closely with stakeholders, and in this context will launch a public consultation on this matter in the coming weeks. In order to allow for the monitoring of the effects of the Recommendation, Member States and companies will be required to submit relevant information on terrorist content within three months, and other illegal content within six months.
The Commission is keen to emphasise that the Recommendation in no way modifies the e-Commerce Directive which exempts online intermediaries from liability for the content they manage under certain conditions.