Philip Ellis
News & Views
EU proposes new rules for online video

EU ministers have approved proposals to compel social networks to take hard action against hate speech on their respective platforms — specifically, in video content. If these proposals are made law by the European Parliament, they will make history by being the first EU-level legislation on this subject.

“Where the provision of videos forms an ‘essential part’ of the services provided by a social media company, they will have to take measures to block videos with hate speech, incitement to hatred and content justifying terrorism,” reports Reuters.

These rules will apply to online video, but not streaming video. While live-streaming services like Facebook Live have drawn criticism due to people using them to broadcast acts of violence, the real-time nature of live video makes moderation impossible.

Earlier this year, the European Commission made it clear that companies like Facebook and Twitter could face hefty fines unless they made serious efforts to improve user safety and remove “loopholes” in their Terms & Conditions that would enable perpetrators of hate speech to avoid reprisal. The German government, leading by example in its zero tolerance policy towards hate speech, has previously proposed financial penalties of up to €50 million for failure to remove defamation and slander within a 24 hour window

This new set of proposals also requires video streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to dedicate a quota of 30 per cent of their content to European programming (up from the original proposition of 20%). The proposals dictate that these platforms become more proactively involved in helping to produce content in regions where they have audiences, including helping to finance European films and television.

Andrus Ansip, EU Commission VP for the Digital Single Market, states: “We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European films, protect children, and tackle hate speech in a better way.”

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