The EU Calls for Removal of all Extremist Content on Social Media

The European Union has given social media companies like Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter three months to demonstrate that they are making efforts to rid their platforms of extremist content in order to fight online radicalization. This has been a significant issue in Europe, and the European Commission hopes that by removing extremist content an hour after notification, social media companies can halt the proliferation of radicalization and extremist ideologies [1].

This could certainly help stop the lone-wolf radicalization phenomenon that’s been occurring online, but certain realities of this plan remain unclear. The proposal adds to the existing, voluntary system agreed by the EU and social media companies, under which social media platforms are not legally responsible for the content circulating on their sites [2].

It’s unclear how feasible the EU proposal is since companies’ attempts to deliver on the one hour mandate will be a struggle. For example, Google currently reviews 98% of reported videos within 24 hours [3].

The recommendations are non-binding, but could potentially be taken into account by European courts. For now, they are meant as guidelines for how companies should remove illegal content [4].

The next few months will demonstrate how the EU will proceed and whether tech companies will become more helpful in the fight against violent extremism. While it is certainly a step in the right direction with regard to decreasing online radicalization, there will be pushback from companies that find the increased effort and potential legal battles bothersome.


[1] Gibbs, S. (2018, March 1). EU gives Facebook and Google three months to tackle extremist content. Retrieved March 1, 2018, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/01/eu-facebook-google-youtube-twitter-extremist-content

[2] Social media faces EU ‘1-hour rule’ on taking down terror content. (March 1, 2018.). Retrieved March 1, 2018, from https://www.ft.com/content/708b82c4-1d65-11e8-aaca-4574d7dabfb6

[3] Social media faces EU ‘1-hour rule’ on taking down terror content. (March 1,2018). Retrieved March 1, 2018, from https://www.ft.com/content/708b82c4-1d65-11e8-aaca-4574d7dabfb6

[4] Gibbs, S. (2018, March 1). EU gives Facebook and Google three months to tackle extremist content. Retrieved March 1, 2018, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/01/eu-facebook-google-youtube-twitter-extremist-content

Josephine Neulen

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