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.


Erdogan slams Western media over negative economy coverage

Updated 18 April 2019
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Erdogan slams Western media over negative economy coverage

  • Turkey’s economy has slipped into its first recession in a decade after a currency crisis last year battered the lira
  • The Turkish leader has in the past attacked Western media coverage on the country’s economy

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday criticized Western media coverage of the country’s economy after a Financial Times report questioned the central bank’s management of foreign currency reserves.
Turkey’s economy has slipped into its first recession in a decade after a currency crisis last year battered the lira, leaving foreign investors jittery over the government’s policies to manage growth.
The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that the central bank had bolstered its foreign reserves with short-term lending in what analysts worried was a way to overstate its buffer against any new lira crisis.
Last month, the lira fell nearly six percent in one day because of investor concerns over foreign reserves as well as worries the government had turned to unorthodox ways to shore up the currency before March 31 elections.
“Unfortunately, some quarters in the West, using all their media tools, are trying to say our economy has collapsed,” Erdogan told a business forum.
“Let them write what they want, write the headlines they want. The Financial Times writes some things. But the situation in my country is clear.”
The Turkish leader has in the past attacked Western media coverage on the country’s economy. Last month, he blamed currency fluctuations on a Western plot led by the United States to weaken Turkey.
The lira was down almost 1.5 percent against the dollar in Thursday afternoon trading.
The Financial Times story said it had calculated Turkey’s foreign reserves were much lower than the $28.1 billion officially reported in April if the short-term borrowing was stripped out of the calculation.
In a response to the FT, the central bank acknowledged short-term operations may impact reserve figures, though it said its accounting was in compliance with international standards.
But some analysts told the FT they were worried about unorthodox methods and transparency.
The weakening economy was part of the reason Erdogan’s AKP lost Ankara and Istanbul in last month’s local election, in what was a stinging rebuke to the ruling party after more than a decade and a half in power.
After a trade dispute with the US last year, Washington imposed sanctions on Turkey and tariffs on some Turkish goods, leading to a 30 percent slide in the lira’s value.