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European Parliament approves EU Terrorist Content Regulation

The requirement for online platforms to take down terrorist content within an hour of being notified passed by just three votes.

The EU Terrorist Content Regulation has been passed by the European Parliament. The final text will now be sent to the European Council for final approval and will require online platforms to remove what the EU deems to be “terrorist content” within one hour if it becomes law.

The one-hour takedown deadline on terrorist content passed by just three votes with 300 MEPs (Members of European Parliament) voting in favor of this deadline and 297 voting against it. However, the amendment to re-introduce mandatory upload filters was rejected by MEPs.

The requirement to takedown terrorist content within an hour was one of the most criticized aspects of this regulation with critics believing that it will restrict free speech online while doing little to stop the online activities of genuine terrorists.

Recent data showing that official EU agencies falsely reported over 500 URLs as terrorist content makes this aspect of the regulation even more concerning. It suggests that official EU agencies can’t accurately identify terrorist content and that this one-hour takedown deadline will lead to lots of content being unfairly taken down as a result of false reporting.

This vote to approve the EU Terrorist Content Regulation in the Parliament comes just days after the European Council passed Articles 11 (the link tax) and 13 (the meme ban/upload filters) of the EU Copyright Directive – another Directive which places further restrictions on how information is shared online in the EU.

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