The EU adopted a law making tech companies delete 'terrorist content' within one hour

The EU adopted a law making tech companies delete 'terrorist content' within one hour
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo
  • The European Parliament adopted a law forcing tech firms to immediately remove what authorities deem "terrorist content."
  • It requires platforms like Facebook and Google to remove the content within an hour of being told to.
  • Some lawmakers and experts warned this could amount to censorship and be difficult to enforce.

The EU has adopted a new, controversial law that requires tech companies to delete what authorities deem "terrorist content" within an hour, or risk a fine.

The European Parliament formally adopted the law on Wednesday even as lawmakers and experts warned that it would not be practical to implement and could harm people's privacy and free-speech rights.

The law requires companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter to immediately remove content that authorities believe incites terrorism, tries to recruit terrorists, "glorifies terrorist activities," or gives advice on how to make dangerous items like explosives and firearms.

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

The law calls on the tech firms to remove the content within an hour of being told to do so by authorities, or the countries could punish them with a fine.

The law is to come into force 12 months after it is published in the EU's official journal, then adopted by each member state, The Verge reported.


Some parliament members who voted against it said the law could amount to censorship.

Reuters reported that Marcel Kolaja, the vice president of the European Parliament, said: "We really are risking censorship across Europe. Hungarian and Polish governments already demonstrated they have no issues removing content that they disagree with."

Other parliament members said they worried that the legislation could leave governments free to define what they think terrorism is, and police online content as a result.

And Jacob Berntsson, the head of policy and research at Tech Against Terrorism, told Euractiv: "The one-hour removal deadline will be nigh on impossible for most small platforms to implement effectively."