EU threatens to fine social media for terrorist content

The European Commission said Monday social media sites in Europe that contain extremist content will have 60 minutes to remove it, or be fined.

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The proposed crackdown, which would impact Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, follows recent terrorist attacks across Europe.

The move builds on the commission’s planin March to get Internet platforms to voluntarily take down terrorist content in favor of tougher draft regulations, which will be published next month. The regulations would need to be approved by parliament and a majority of EU states.

A new study last month from the Counter Extremism Project showed more than 1,300 extremist videos were uploaded to YouTube between March and June. Twenty-four percent of them remained online for more than two hours.

YouTube said earlier this year more than half of the videos it removes for violent extremism have fewer than 10 views. Last year, it said just 8 percent of those videos had fewer than 10 views.

Twitter, in its latest transparency report in April, said more than 1.2 million accounts were suspended for terrorist content since August 2015. During the last half of 2017, 274,460 accounts were permanently removed for extremism, a decline of 8.4 percent.

Facebook said in April it’s removed more terrorist content recently than it has in the past.

In the first quarter of this year, Facebook said it took action to remove 1.9 million pieces of extremist content, about twice the number from Q4 2017.

By Sommer Brokaw