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2021-06-07 at 12h59

Rules that force terrorist content to be removed from the internet is now in force

Minister of Home Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita

The European rules that force all online platforms in the European Union to remove content of a terrorist nature flagged by Member States’ authorities within an hour is now in force. 

The implementation of these rules, approved by the European Parliament on 29 April, was a priority of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

When these rules were approved by the Council of the European Union after first being read out in March, the Portuguese Minister of Home Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, claimed that "radicalization and inciting violence on social media and video platforms" is "increasingly frequent".

With the new rules, "our authorities charged with applying the rules will have an effective measure to counter this threat. Together, we will send a strong signal to the internet firms: it is time for swifter and more effective action", Eduardo Cabrita added. 

On the note on the entry into force of these rules the European Commission states that the goal is "to help counter the dissemination of extremist ideology online", ensuring at the same time "full respect for fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and information".

The Vice President of the European Commission for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, mentioned that the rules approved are to remove "texts, images, sound or videos, particularly lives" that "incite, call for or contribute to terrorist offences" or that offer instructions or encourage people to join a terrorist group.

Such content will have to be removed within one hour of the online platforms receiving a removal order from the competent authorities.

The rules defining the sanctions to be imposed on the platforms that do not follow the order to remove the content must be approved by the Member States, but the level of the penalty will depend "on the nature of the breach and the size of the company".

The rules also envisage that "content with educational, journalistic, artistic or investigation purposes or used for awareness raising are not considered terrorist content under the new rules".

All online platforms that provide services to the European market are covered by these rules.

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