Internet giants like Facebook, Google’s YouTube and Twitter are not taking down illegal content from their websites fast enough, the European Union executive said on Tuesday after meeting with the companies.
Several European governments have increased pressure on social media companies to do more to remove illegal content – from incitement to hatred and racism to extremist material to counterfeit products being sold online – and the companies have gone to greater efforts to detail the changes they are making.
Five EU Commissioners met with representatives from companies including Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter in Brussels to discuss the progress they had made in removing illegal content quicker and more effectively.
“What is illegal, also has consequences. We need to find ways to remove this content. We want voluntary measures to work, but the progress has to be faster, it’s currently not going fast enough and we need to do something about it,” Julian King, EU security commissioner, said.
The tech companies have stepped up their efforts to tackle illegal content online in the face of sustained political pressure, particularly as attacks in Western Europe over the past years shone a spotlight on militants’ use of social networks.
Facebook said last year it was removing 99 percent of content from militant groups Islamic State and al Qaeda before being told of it, while Twitter said 95 percent of account suspensions were thanks to its internal efforts.
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