Tue. Jan 31st, 2023
The objective of the proposal from the Commission

Terrorist attacks on EU soil have demonstrated how terrorists misuse the internet to groom and recruit supporters, to prepare and facilitate the terrorist activity, to glorify in their atrocities, and urge others to follow suit and instill fear in the general public.

Terrorist content shared online for such purposes is disseminated through hosting service providers that allow the upload of third-party content. Terrorists and their supporters have misused not only large social media platforms, but increasingly also smaller providers offering different types of hosting services accessible in the European Union. This misuse of certain online services highlights the particular societal responsibility of hosting service providers to protect their users from exposure to terrorist content and the grave security risks this content entails for society at large.

The Commission proposal was to establish a harmonised legal framework to prevent the misuse of hosting services for the dissemination of terrorist content online, to guarantee the smooth functioning of the digital single market, whilst safeguarding public security and protecting fundamental rights.

The proposed Regulation aims at providing clarity as to the responsibility of hosting service providers in taking all appropriate, reasonable and proportionate actions necessary to ensure the safety of their services and to swiftly and effectively detect and remove terrorist content online. Such actions include the removal of content within one hour from receiving a removal order and specific measures to be taken by hosting service providers in a proactive manner to protect their services.

At the same time, the proposed Regulation contains a number of safeguards designed to ensure full respect for fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and information, in a democratic society. These safeguards include obligations of transparency as well as complaint mechanisms to ensure that content providers can challenge the removal of or disable access to their content, in addition to judicial redress in line with Article 19 TEU and Article  47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

The obligations on the Member States contained in the proposed Regulation will contribute to these objectives, by empowering competent authorities, increasing predictability and transparency, guaranteeing adequate safeguards, and ensuring that non-compliance by hosting service providers can be sanctioned through effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties.

Source and full text: CELEX:52021PC0123: COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT pursuant to Article 294(6) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union concerning the position of the Council on the adoption of a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council to address the dissemination of terrorist content online

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