Answer given by Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission
The Commission takes tackling terrorist's use of the Internet extremely seriously. To this end, in 2015, it established the EU Internet Forum convening social media companies, Member States, Europol and the Radicalisation Awareness Network. The Forum has two key objectives: to reduce accessibility to terrorist content online and to empower civil society partners to develop effective, alternative narratives.
Since 2015, several companies have taken a more proactive response with some deploying automated tools to identify content hosted on their platform. Furthermore, following a commitment under the EU Internet Forum, a consortium of companies developed the ‘Database of Hashes’ to stem the dissemination of terrorist content across platforms.
On 28 September 2017, the Commission adopted a communication with guidance on the responsibilities of online service providers regarding illegal content online, followed by a recommendation on 1 March 2018 with a specific chapter on terrorism. This chapter builds on the EU Internet Forum's priorities. It asks companies to improve responses to referrals and to implement specific proactive measures.
The Commission will explore before the end of 2018 the necessity of possible further measures to improve the effectiveness of combating illegal content online. In March 2018 the Commission consulted stakeholders on next steps through an Inception Impact Assessment. Replies are being analysed. An open public consultation was launched on 30 April 2018, which runs until 25 June 2018 and the Commission is currently working on a comprehensive Impact Assessment, that is gathering evidence and assessing the impact of possible measures, including voluntary and legislative, to ensure a reduction in terrorist and other illegal content online and enhance protection of EU citizens.
In addition, the Commission will assess measures taken and progress achieved by companies in relation to terrorist content in line with the recommendation. In this context, a meeting of the EU Internet Forum with Internet companies and EU Member States was held on 22 May 2018. Targeted consultations covering terrorist content and all types of illegal content online, are also foreseen.