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.


Chinese state media debuts 'AI' news anchors

This photo illustration shows a man watching an artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor from a state-controlled news broadcaster, on his computer in Beijing on November 9, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 10 November 2018
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Chinese state media debuts 'AI' news anchors

  • The AI anchor is part of a major push by China to advance its prowess in AI tech

WUZHEN, China: Chinese news readers may have some new competition — artificially intelligent robot anchors that can mimic human facial expressions and mannerisms while reading out reports.
The AI anchor, developed by state news agency Xinhua and tech firm Sogou Inc, was on display at the World Internet Conference in the eastern Chinese town of Wuzhen, drawing in curious passers-by.
The anchor, modelled on real-life Chinese news reader Qiu Hao and sporting a black suit and red tie, is part of a major push by China to advance its prowess in AI technology, from surveillance equipment to self-driving cars.
In another video presentation from Xinhua, a different robot presenter said it was his “very first day” at the news agency and promised to “work tirelessly to keep you informed as texts will be typed into my system uninterrupted.”
At the Internet summit, Sogou marketing staff said it wasn’t clear when the technology would actually go into use, but crowds gathered nonetheless to take selfies with the digital anchor and Qiu himself who was at the event.
The conference is China’s top tech event of the year, and has in the past attracted names like Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet Inc. head Sundar Pichai.
This year’s iteration, however, which opened on Wednesday, was more muted and has a less glitzy global line-up, even as battle lines for control of the web have hardened amid a biting trade war between China and the United States.
Foreign websites such as Alphabet’s Google and Facebook Inc. are blocked in China, where authorities also tightly control online content and censor or punish those who post material seen as opposed to “core socialist values.”