EU Commission recommends nations 'fast-track' implementation of censoring 'illegal content' on the internet after Hamas attack

Using the atrocities committed by Hamas as their impetus, the European Commission has recommended that Member States fast-track their response to "the spread and amplification of illegal content, such as terrorist content or unlawful hate speech, before it can lead to a serious threat to public security."

While the initial deadline for Member States was February 2024, the Commission is encouraging nations to move up the clock on their compliance with the directives.

The idea of the Commission is for all European nations to force social media companies and search engines to comply with the Digital Services Act. This comes after the European Union launched an investigation into Elon Musk's X over content spread by Hamas and their supporters on the platform.

Musk was approached by the Commission over "indications of X/Twitter being used to disseminate illegal content & disinformation in the EU." He was informed in no uncertain terms that the DSA "sets very precise obligations regarding content moderation."

The stated purpose of the Digital Services Act (DSA) is to "keep European citizens safe online" and regulate how "big tech should police the internet."

The recommendations for Member States to ramp up their control of the internet, or as they say to "secure its online information environment, protect vital informational freedoms, especially in times of conflict, and it requires effective responses to the dissemination and amplification of illegal content online that can threat civic discourse, elections and public security."

The plan originally was to have Member States designate their "Digital Services Coordinators and other national competent authorities responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of the Digital Services Act by 17 February 2024." 

In their efforts to encourage nations to enable swift enforcement of the DSA, the Commission notes the war in Ukraine, and the war in Israel, as reasons to increase censorship.

"Recent events have triggered an increase in the dissemination of illegal content online on several platforms," said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market. "With the Digital Services Act, we have a complete toolbox established in law. We have no time to lose. That is why today we invite Member States to appoint their coordinators for digital services as soon as possible, before their February 2024 deadline. We will also propose the creation of an incident protocol, to enhance our response and channel evidence and information to the Commission. This will enable the necessary measures to be taken quickly and in a coordinated fashion."

"Hamas' terrorist attack has also led to an online assault of heinous, illegal content promoting hatred and terror. With our Digital Services Act, Europe now has strong rules to protect users, including vulnerable population groups, from intimidation and to ensure fundamental freedoms online. Major platforms are subject to new obligations to mitigate such risks from their services. Today's recommendation will help us to coordinate our responses with Member States and protect our society," said President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

The Commission has proposed a system in which there would be cooperation between the Commission and what are essentially DSA enforcers within nations when there is content that is "illegal" under the DSA. This cooperation would come when there is a concern that this "illegal" online content would intimidate specific groups of people, or would lead to destabilization within the EU. Regular meetings between DSA enforcers and the Commission would be enacted so that they can team up on securing further recommendations to identify and eliminate the disagreeable speech.

C 2023 7158 1 en ACT Part1 v1 i8gErhKQnzgHjy8IRdcf8M93InI 99374 by Libby Emmons on Scribd

Image: Title: Thierry Breton


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