May 28, 2022

Reuters: “EU Hate Speech Deal Shows Mounting Pressures Over Internet Content Blocking”

UPDATE June 3, 2016: Comments From EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

From Reuters:

An agreement on Tuesday by four major U.S. internet companies to block illegal hate speech from their services in Europe within 24 hours shows the tight corner the companies find themselves in as they face mounting pressure to monitor and control content.

The new European Union “code of conduct on illegal online hate speech” states that Facebook, Google’s YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft, will review reports of hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to the content if necessary.

European governments were acting in response to a surge in antisemitic, anti-immigrant and pro-Islamic State commentary on social media.

The companies downplayed the significance of the deal, saying it was a simple extension of what they already do. Unlike in the United States, many forms of hate speech, such as pro-Nazi propaganda, are illegal in some or all European countries, and the major internet companies have the technical ability to block content on a country-by-country basis.

But people familiar with the complicated world of internet content filtering say the EU agreement is part of a broad and worrisome trend toward more government restrictions.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.