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The EU wants states to flag terrorist-related content on YouTube

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Counter-terror chief Gilles De Kerchove says states should assume the responsibility of policing the internet

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The European Union's Counter-Terrorism chief Gilles De Kerchove called on member states today to help flag extremist content on YouTube, AP reports. In a Parliament meeting of the liberal ALDE party, De Kerchove urged governments to create trained units to weed terror-related videos from the Google-owned website.

Sweeping YouTube of terrorist content is a monumental task. Google's public policy manager Verity Harding said flagging after the fact is the only way to police content. Nearly 300 minutes of video is uploaded to the site every minute, she said. "To pre-screen those videos before they are uploaded would be like screening a phone call before it's made."

"Like screening a phone call before it's made"

De Kerchove said states are generally more successful than individuals at effecting change online. When a Scotland Yard unit recently complained to YouTube about certain material, De Kerchove said YouTube removed around 93 percent of the offending content. When individuals flag content, it usually results in a removal of 33 percent.

This suggestion comes one day after the French government announced a plan to hold companies like Google and Facebook accountable for hosting extremist messages. As with that plan, De Kerchove's suggestion didn't mention exactly what would make a video worthy of flagging.

As of now, De Kerchove presents this as a moral decision rather than a legal obligation. "We can contemplate legislation," he said, "but I suspect it would be an awfully monumental exercise."