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EU Commissioner Threatens Platforms With Shutdowns If They Don’t Comply With New Censorship Law

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Under the impending European Union’s content censorship laws, social media platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat could face immediate shutdowns if they fail to swiftly tackle and eliminate incendiary content amidst civil unrest, announced Internal Commissioner Thierry Breton said this week.

Responding to the French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion about the possibility of shutting down certain social media platforms to curtail riots, Breton brought forward the imminent legal requirements for social media companies under the Digital Services Act, effective from August 25. The idea of blocking social media access has drawn criticism for its resemblance to tactics used in more authoritarian regimes, such as Iran and China.

“Platforms that foster content inciting hatred, revolts, and harm including property damage will be obligated to expunge such content instantly,” Breton asserted during his interview with France Info. Breton, a seasoned French politician, reinforced the Act’s commitment to tackling harmful online activity.

He added, “Any lapse in compliance will be met with swift penalties. Our monitoring teams stand ready to act at a moment’s notice. Platforms unable to meet the urgency required could face not just financial penalties but also a potential ban from operating within our jurisdictions.”

Starting next month, 19 large online platforms—among them TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter – will be legally bound to restrict the propagation of “harmful” content.

This also applies to any platform with a user base exceeding 45 million within the EU. Their obligation extends to providing the Commission with a comprehensive assessment of major risks posed to their users. The penalty for non-compliance is formidable, potentially reaching up to 6 percent of the platform’s global revenue.

In preparation for the incoming legislation, the Commission plans to conduct a “stress test” on TikTok in the following week to evaluate its readiness to comply with the new obligations. Prior to this, Twitter has already been subjected to a similar test and Meta has consented to one later this month.

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