Multilateral efforts needed to fight terrorist content online

The debate about terrorist propaganda online has been taking central stage in Europe for a while.

The European Commission launched the EU Internet Forum in December 2015, bringing together EU Home Affairs Ministers, industry representatives and other stakeholders to work together on this delicate issue. This voluntary partnership has roduced some very positive results, like the announcement of Code of Conduct on countering illegal online hate speech and the creation of the Shared Industry Hash Database to help identify potential terrorist content on the respective hosted consumer platforms.

The EU Institutions have been pushing for more to be done, in particular in the sphere of automatic detection and removal of content that incites terrorist acts, and have, in September 2017, published guidelines and principles for online platforms to increase the proactive prevention, detection and removal of illegal content online. Yesterday, a roundtable meeting brought together executives from almost two dozen firms and five EU commissioners to discuss the results achieved so far, constraints and challenges faced by online platforms d next steps.

The industry is united in its commitment to play a part in the fight against terror and collaborate with the Institutions to curb the spread of terrorist activities online. Internet companies are looking at new technologies and solutions to stop terrorists from abusing their platforms to promote their reprehensible ideas, and have shown a continuous commitment over the past years working together with governments and law enforcement authorities.

We all agree that more needs to be done to fight this battle. From all angles: not only technological but also societal, political, educational and economical.

From the technology perspective, companies need to implement faster ways to operate  in response to potential terrorist activitie. Large companies should also work closely with the small ones, sharing best practices and solutions, in order to make sure everyone know how to best tackle the issue.

While industry comes together in this fight and brings onboard smaller companies, it should also continue working side by side with governments. At the same time, political leaders should stay clear from deputizing the duty of care to private companies.


Director, European Policy & Government Relations