EU pushes Internet firms to remove extremist content in one hour

The Commission will retain a voluntary code of conduct on hate speech with Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube in 2016. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018
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EU pushes Internet firms to remove extremist content in one hour

  • Service providers will have to provide annual transparency reports to show their efforts in tackling abuse
  • The industry has also been working since December 2015 in a voluntary partnership to stop the misuse of the Internet by international extremist groups

BRUSSELS: The European Commission will propose new laws on Wednesday giving Google, Facebook , Twitter and other Internet companies one hour to remove extremist content or face fines.
The Commission told such companies in March that they had three months to show they were removing extremist content more rapidly or face legislation forcing them to do so.
The Commission wants content inciting or advocating extremist offenses, promoting extremist groups, or showing how to commit such acts to be removed from the web within a hour of receiving a corresponding order from national authorities.
In a proposal that will need backing from EU countries and the European Parliament, Internet platforms will also be required to take proactive measures, such as developing new tools to weed out abuse and human oversight of content.
Service providers will have to provide annual transparency reports to show their efforts in tackling abuse.
Providers systematically failing to remove extremist content could face fines of up to 4 percent of annual global turnover. Content providers will though have the right to challenge removal orders.
In turn, it asks national governments to put in place the capacity to identify extremist content online, sanctions, and an appeals procedure.
The industry has also been working since December 2015 in a voluntary partnership to stop the misuse of the Internet by international extremist groups, later creating a “database of hashes” to better detect extremist content.
The Commission will retain a voluntary code of conduct on hate speech with Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube in 2016. Other companies have since announced plans to join it.


Facebook dating service rolling out in Colombia

Updated 22 September 2018
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Facebook dating service rolling out in Colombia

  • Colombians are particularly avid fans of using social networks and websites to find partners
  • The service is programmed not to link up people who are already connected as family or friends

BOGOTA: Facebook said Friday a dating service it teased early this year is being rolled out in Colombia.
The social media giant chose the Latin American country as its test lab because Colombians are particularly avid fans of using social networks and websites to find partners.
The new feature, rolled out in Colombia this week, allows users to create a separate “dating” profile not visible to their network of friends, with potential matches recommended based on preferences and common interests.
The service is programmed not to link up people who are already connected as family or friends, and users of Facebook Dating will also be able to block people if they wish.
A basic chat service will be available, and the site will bar strangers from sending photos, videos or links.
Some 21 million people log in to Facebook every day in Colombia, a country of 50 million people, according to the company.
“We view this as an incredible opportunity to continue helping people build relationships in meaningful ways on Facebook,” said Facebook Dating product manager Nathan Sharp.
Facebook’s chief Mark Zuckerberg in May announced plans for the new dating feature at the world’s leading online social network — while vowing to make privacy protection its top priority in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Zuckerberg was emphatic that the focus would be on helping people find partners, not flings.
“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hookups,” Zuckerberg said in presenting the new feature.
He said the dating offer was built with privacy and safety in mind.
Facebook faced intense global scrutiny over the mass harvesting of personal data by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy that worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
The company has admitted up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked in the scandal.