Delete terrorist propaganda online

30.11.2020 13:37

Delete terrorist propaganda online

Radical Islamists and other terrorists use online propaganda to radicalise and recruit and to incite violent attacks. The decapitation of French teacher Samuel Paty and the recent Islamist terror attacks in Nice and Vienna are the latest in a series of horrendous terror attacks on EU soil that demonstrate the urgent need for action against terrorist propaganda on the internet.

As the voluntary system for tackling terrorism online did not produce enough results, the Commission in September 2018 proposed a law to prevent the spreading of terrorist propaganda online. Once in place, the law would force terrorist propaganda to be deleted from the internet within one hour. This would be true irrespective of where the platform is located and it would have immediate EU-wide effects. Member States and the European Parliament are now negotiating this crucial law.

The EPP Group pushed to adopt it already in the last mandate. Unfortunately, the vote was postponed. This law needs to be put into place before the end of the year.



In the negotiations, the EPP Group has been pushing for all the core elements of the proposal:

+ It must be possible to delete terrorist content across borders. Content is not necessarily hosted on a platform in the country where it is uploaded or accessed. For example, an Austrian based in Vienna might upload terrorist content, including in the German language, to Facebook, which has its European headquarters in Ireland. Then the authorities in Austria must be able to send a binding order to Facebook Ireland to delete the terrorist content, rather than flag the content to the Irish authorities, which might not have the necessary capacities to swiftly assess if the content in a foreign language constitutes terrorist content.

+ Terrorist propaganda must be deleted within one hour. The risk of dissemination of terrorist content is verifiably the highest within the first hour after its upload. Platforms would therefore have one hour to implement the order to delete the terrorist content. To show the extent of the problem: Europol took down over 2.000 links to terrorist content, including tutorials on how to carry out a terrorist attack, during July of this year. The difference between one of these videos being posted for 1, 3 or 24 hours is millions of views.

+ Platforms need to save deleted terrorist content because of a removal order in order to help police and prosecutors prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute terrorist offences.

Already, back in 2015, the EPP Group proposed a comprehensive set of anti-terrorist measures. Because of the reluctance of the political Left and nationalism within some Member States, too little has been done to fight terrorism jointly across borders.



We call on the Socialists and the Greens to join us in the fight against terrorism. Freedom of expression does not mean freedom to terrorise. We must do everything it takes to protect Europe against terrorism. The EPP Group wants the law to delete terrorist propaganda on the internet in place by the end of this year!

Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States

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