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Parliamentary questions
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17 May 2018
E-000679/2018(ASW)
Answer given by Ms Gabriel on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-000679/2018

The Commission adopted a recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online on 1 March 2018. Even if progress in removing illegal content has been made, the Commission wants to reinforce the messages laid down in its communication ‘Tackling Illegal Content Online’(1) and specify certain conditions for fighting terrorist propaganda.

According to the definition as set out in the recommendation mentioned, illegal content is any information or activity which contravenes European Union or Member States laws.

The Commission expects platforms to follow the recommendation with the effect that they take proactive measures to identify illegal content, take it down swiftly, and put in place effective safeguards to prevent or remedy ‘over removals’. Terrorism-related content should be taken down in one hour.

The recommendation makes a strong call for platforms to share knowledge of automated detection techniques with small-scale hosting service providers so they don’t become soft targets for illegal content online.

The Commission will assess the result of the recommendation in the coming months and decide on next steps to achieve the objectives it pursues.

The Commission is also taking action against ‘fake news’ or disinformation for its corrosive effects on trust in democratic systems. ‘Fake news’ is not illegal content per se, but rather false information that is deliberately spread to deceive the public. The Commission has convened a high-level group of experts to advise her on policy actions to tackle the problem. On 12 March 2018, they released their report(2). The Commission will take it into account when deciding on next steps on disinformation.

(1)COM(2017) 555 final
(2)https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/final-report-high-level-expert-group-fake-news-and-online-disinformation

Last updated: 17 May 2018Legal notice