The European Union on Thursday served an ultimatum to social media giants Twitter, Facebook, and other social media firms to take off hate speech from their platforms or face legal consequences.
Although the big four Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft have repeatedly pledged to take action against racist and violent speech but time and again they failed to act promptly, EU's top regulator, said.
‘The situation is not sustainable: in more than 28% of cases, it takes more than one week for online platforms to take down illegal content. Today we provide a clear signal to platforms to act more responsibly. This is key for citizens and the development of platforms,’ Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said.
The Regulator said it will consider executing new laws to tackle the problem if the online platforms fail to ‘take swift action over the coming months.’ It said it wants the social media titans to ‘further boost their efforts to prevent the spread of illegal content.’
‘Given their increasingly important role in providing access to information, the Commission expects online platforms to take swift action over the coming months, in particular in the area of terrorism and illegal hate speech – which is already illegal under EU law, both online and offline,’ the Commission said in a press release. 'Today's communication is a first step and follow-up initiatives will depend on the online platforms' actions to proactively implement the guidelines,' it added.
EU has been known for its heavy fines. In June this year, EU’s antitrust regulator fined Alphabet Inc.’s Google a record €2.42 billion ($2.71 billion) and on Wednesday, truck maker Scania was fined nearly $1billion (€880m) for conniving with five other truck makers over prices and emissions costs.