EU pressure mounts on social media giants to remove illegal material

Facing growing concern about the destructive impact of “fake news”, internet giants Facebook, Twitter, and Google joined more than 20 tech firms at a series of meetings in Brussels over the past week.

On 9 January, five European Commissioners, including those in charge of home affairs, justice, and digital legislation, attended a meeting with CEOs from some of the largest internet companies, to discuss whether new legislation would be introduced this spring which would require the companies to take down any illegal posts, including terrorist material or hate speech.

Over the past year, the European Commission has been putting increasing pressure on social media companies to voluntarily take responsibility for the “fake news” (aka “lies”) and illegal content they publish.

According to Euractiv,

The Commission has put off introducing hard EU law but threatened over the last year that it might resort to regulating companies if they don’t remove illegal posts on their own. Every few months, the Commission meets with some of the biggest platforms—Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook—to review how quickly they remove illegal posts as part of a non-binding agreement that the firms signed on to in 2016.

The Commission warned last September that it would give the companies a few more months to speed up their rate of removing that material, and promised to announce by May whether it will propose a law.

Germany and France lead the pack

Decisive action from the EU’s two largest member states may force the issue: Germany has already passed legislation forcing companies to remove illegal posts, or face fines of up to tens of millions of euros; and France is in the process of drafting a new law which will regulate how platforms display “fake news”. These measures may pave the way for the Commission to take a more assertive role in determining how social media platforms should decide what constitutes illegal content, and what they ought to do about it.

In a statement following last Tuesday’s meeting, the Commission said, ““If the industry does not act—and fast—we will.”

Even Andrus Ansip, EU Vice President in charge of the digital single market, who has previously disapproved of regulations which might spiral into a “ministry of truth”, said the companies are not acting quickly enough.

On Twitter, Mr Ansip said, “#onlineplatforms have huge power and influence, also social responsibility. Today’s regime is flexible enough for them to take action to remove – but it is up to platforms to do this. If platforms will not act proactively, legislators will”.

High Level Expert Group meets in Brussels

On 15 January, representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google were once again in Brussels at the first meeting of the High Level Expert Group on Fake News and online disinformation. The Expert Group, comprising 39 representatives from civil society, social media, online platforms, news media organisations, and academia, was convened by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, and will be chaired by Professor Dr Madeleine de Cock Buning, a lecturer from Utrecht University who specialises in Intellectual Property, Copyright and Media and Communication Law.

The goal of the Expert Group is to develop a European approach to “fake news” and illegal content, which will respect freedom of expression as well as the “right to access reliable information”:

A full list of members of the group can be found on this European Commission page.

What does this mean for the Hampstead SRA hoax?

This may be an opportunity for those of us who oppose this hoax to make our views known, and participate in ensuring that the social media companies live up to their social and legal responsibilities.

We have long complained that we’d like to see the social media giants take a more aggressive and proactive approach to removing illegal and destructive posts from their pages, and this could be a chance to contact decision-makers directly to ensure our views are known.

Over the next week we will be writing to the chair of the Expert Group, along with the five Commissioners who’ve shown a particular interest in this topic:

If you’d like to follow the discussion on Twitter, you may do so via @EU_MediaLit and #TackleFakeNews.

If you’d like to write to the Expert Group yourself, Professor Dr Madeleine de Cock Buning’s contact information may be found here.

And if you have any points you especially want us to include when we contact the Commissioners or the Expert Group, please let us know in the Contents section.

64 thoughts on “EU pressure mounts on social media giants to remove illegal material

  1. It’s going to happen. It’s got to happen.
    I know we all want Free Speech to be allowed to flow, but in my experience it is being strangled by the illegal acitivity and fake news, and those determined to prop the hoax up or their clickbaiting fake news and target those exposing them with vile harrassment, heinous smears.working in gangs. Feeling very hopeful. Thanks EC for helping us all to add our voice to the discussion and influence the decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent! A few of us have felt that we need to contact people at the ‘top’ for a while now. This might be the start.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great job as always, EC.

    And speaking of fake news, I see JournoAngie has finally latched on to the Dolphin Square thing, about 3 years too late:

    Still, credit where it’s due – she’s done her due diligence…by checking that the link worked.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. All the stuff about how it isn’t a warrant so it doesn’t count is bollocks too. All you have to do is google the procedures that are taken during an eviction to get the facts.

    I feel sorry for anyone who is in her position but she needs proper legal advice and I do wish her fruitcake friends would stop encouraging her.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Liza, I think I’m in worse trouble 🙂 but hopefully David Seaman & fellow co conspiritards will be in far worse trouble than he’ll know what to do with as fakers rue the day they created the fictions that became pizzagate.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. One Ben Frankham has been sharing the Hampstead videos and has ranted about it. Another one from Kent with the brains of Cassie.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. 18:32 – “Then I do this pink salt, right. I throws [sic] pink salt around my home and my car and my garden to say, ‘I hereby secure the protection of this planet and the people and the children and the babies from thieves and fire by the power of salt magic.’ That’s what I do.”

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Not that people from Kent are intrinsically stupid, of course. Cassie, Cahill and I are just notable exceptions 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  9. PPI claims deadline is August 2019.A gathering multitude of legal eagle claims “experts” will already be actively surveying the landscape for fresh test compo cases and the subsequent feeding frenzy.

    Social media platforms would be well advised to acquire sufficient hard hats and galoshes in readiness for the coming onslaught.Individual defendants like say Angie can simply shit themselves whilst wearing a lampshade or something.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I get exactly that same effect on my printer, because I havent adjusted the sliding paper clamp on the feeder correctly and it lets the paper feed in crooked…
    And I think (been a while) that that is actually one of the provided templates, used for envelopes with the clear window on them, I used to use it a lot at one of my previous jobs, and it used exactly that same style at the top, complete with the outline around the address window area

    I must admit I had a little giggle when she asked what was wrong with it and held it up- my first thought was ‘some kid has scribbled all over it’- oh wait, that was neelu that did it lol

    Liked by 4 people

  11. So we got:

    one of them who drinks blood and urine (or is it two)
    several of them who support convicted paedophiles – and one who has provided accommodation
    several of them with various convictions including one with a Caution for assault on a child
    a fair few who believe in disc world….sorry I mean flat earth
    one of them who can predict guilt by swinging a pendulum
    and now we’ve got one (Neelu) who ADMITS she practices witchcraft.

    I rest my case.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I think Hoaxtead should indeed submit a very comprehensive account of how social media has inflamed the Hampstead Hoax with the court judgements and screenshots of the trolls and defamers plus links.

    If possible RD should be included in that submission describing the quite dreadful effects upon his life of this ghastly conspiracy that is full of loosely connected and those who are the main promoters of this hoax.

    This should be submitted to the EU- to particular UK MPs and MEPS and EVERY Social Media website (there is a way of emailing Google that ensures it was read by them so they cannot deny receiving the submission- and I have the email for top honcho at Google who has in the past attempted to claim he did not receive libel submissions but a court has confirmed he has)

    This Is WAR !

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Very easy to do so but let us not forget the epic fail collective also has its ambitious youth wing that essentially consists of an dense collection of organic molecules often spotted scratching its head in motorway service stations not very far from Manchester.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. You know your Auntie Fanny in Michigan, the one with all the cats? It was her fault. (If you’re going to pluck something out of the air, why not!)

    Liked by 2 people

  15. ‘Thank you for reporting this post, unfortunately we are unable to decipher to message so can not tell if it goes against our community guidelines. We think they may be the correct words, just not in the right order. We also feel pushing up daisies to be a poor form of exercise unless it is Daisy the cow.’

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I’ve never got my head round the notion of a Christian (which Ogilvy claims to be) advocating murder. Sheer hypocrisy.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. If this is true then you lot and the likes of outlawjimmy etc should start getting worried about all the illegal and defamatory things you have posted about Chris Spivey,Danielle La Verite etc.


  18. True but Google are the most recalcitrant of entities. Try getting them on the phone for anything other than giving them advertising money.

    I use a program that specifies when an email was opened and how long it remained opened.
    It’s far easier as Google themselves insist you contact them via the web. If they can deny you have contacted them they will (they are chaotic as well).
    Legally if it can be shown you have complained repeatedly to them and they have ignored you, a court will frown on them.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I’m working with a group that includes US lawyers and activists which has arisen out of the Janice Duffy libel case in Australia (which has been ongoing for 8 years).
    Duffy being a trained researcher at times had to confront 3 Google barristers in the South Australia High Court when she ran out of money.

    She won her Google defamation case (no different to how Google links to Hampstead Hoax articles) and Google recently lost their appeal.
    They must have spent up to $10M defending a $140,000 court damages payout but she is now re-suing them over the same links that keep re-appearing.
    Google have offered peanuts – thus accepting responsibility- but they still seem to try and pound and plaintiff into the ground. ( By contrast Yahoo act swiftly having had to payout similar damages repeatedly).

    I’m just a tiny cog in the wheel having known Duffy for years in the UK but this is a growing movement especially in the US where that frigging “free speech” mantra is so often abused.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. The worst we ever say about Spivey is that he is a creep, a liar and an abuser. This is not defamatory as a court found that he was guilty of all all these things & convicted him when he harassed the poor family of that murdered soldier.

    You are just showing your complete ignorance not only to law but Spivey’s long history of vile libels against dozens of people.
    (Quite apart from the fact no lawyer would touch a dole scrounger like Spivey).

    # And thus we see how utterly vile and repulsive this mob is : Not only do they inflame and promote wicked false accusations against innocent people (for which their idiot brains could have no possible evidence) they really believe they have a defense of defamation against their lies.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. LMAO!

    “Claimant is incapable of further defamation – e.g., the claimant’s position in the community is so poor that defamation could not do further damage to the plaintiff. Such a claimant could be said to be “libel-proof”, since in most jurisdictions, actual damage is an essential element for a libel claim. Essentially, the defense is that the person had such a bad reputation before the libel, that no further damage could possibly have been caused by the making of the statement”.

    Says it all…

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Neelu: That’s it, I’m going to the High Court to try all the judges for treason for hurting my feelings, and make them give my house back.
    Angela: Hold my beer…

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Pingback: Hoaxtead Research drafts letter to European Commission’s Expert Group on Fake News | HOAXTEAD RESEARCH

  24. I only said something like name fits, spiv…………. it’s amazing how they are so sensitive to even gentle teasing, or simply exposing their own words and actions. They have called me and us and others, vile names, tried to demonise us. Hypocrites.


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