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.


Spotify launches in the Middle East and North Africa

Updated 14 November 2018
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Spotify launches in the Middle East and North Africa

  • Services would now be available in 13 Arab markets including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt
  • Spotify also launched its ‘Arab hub’ collection of playlists of Arab music on Wednesday

DUBAI: Spotify, the world’s most popular paid music streaming service, officially launched in the Middle East and North Africa on Tuesday.
The company said services would now be available in 13 Arab markets, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Morocco but not Libya, Iraq, Syria, or Yemen.
Spotify has been unofficially available in the Middle East for several years via accounts usually registered in other markets such as Europe.
Claudius Boller, who previously worked in the region with Universal Music Group, is Spotify’s managing director for the Middle East and Africa.
Boller told Reuters Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Morocco were expected to drive regional growth, pointing to the Middle East’s youthful population and high smartphone penetration.
Spotify will charge per month for its premium service 19.99 riyals ($5.33) in Saudi Arabia, 19.99 dirhams ($5.44) in the UAE, 49.99 Egyptian pounds ($2.8) in Egypt, and $4.99 elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa. Its free service is also now available in the region.
Spotify also added the Palestinian territories on Tuesday. Its services have been available in Israel since March.
Spotify also launched its ‘Arab hub’ collection of playlists of Arab music on Wednesday.
The Swedish company, founded in 2008, listed on the New York Stock Exchange in April. Before the launch in the Middle East and North Africa, Spotify’s music streaming services were available in 65 markets, according to its website.