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Aggressive new terrorist content regulation passes EU vote

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But some controversial plans were rolled back

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

European Union lawmakers today approved controversial legislation that would require platforms to take down terrorist content within one hour of receiving notification from authorities.

The European Parliament passed the measure by a vote of 308 to 204, and the text will be further negotiated among lawmakers before becoming law.

Under the legislation, called the Terrorist Content Regulation, companies could be fined up to 4 percent of revenue if they consistently fail to remove terrorist content. The plan would apply to major companies like Facebook and YouTube, but much of the debate has focused on smaller platforms, as critics have charged that the plan places an undue burden on those companies.

The legislation approved by Parliament ultimately rolled back some of the more controversial parts of the plan, such as a requirement to constantly monitor uploads and filter for terrorist content. The approved plan also gives more leeway to deal with a first removal order, providing platforms with 12 hours to take down the content.

The proposal has been under consideration since September, amid fears that terrorist content on social media is contributing to radicalization. The issue took on a new urgency last month following the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, footage of which rapidly spread around the internet.

Despite the changes to the legislation, some advocacy groups have slammed the proposal as unnecessary and unworkable. European Digital Rights, a group that has criticized the plan, said in a statement that “we doubt the proposal’s objectives will be achieved, and point that no meaningful evidence has yet been presented on the need for a new European counter-terrorism instrument.”