EU close to making Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter block hate speech videos

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The European Council has approved a set of proposals that would require companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to block videos containing hate speech and incitements to terrorism. The proposals, which were approved by EU ministers Tuesday, will still need to be passed by the European Parliament before becoming law, as Reuters reports.

If approved, the regulations would be the first at the EU level to hold social media companies accountable for hate speech published on their platforms. European lawmakers have called on tech companies to do more to curb the spread of hate speech and terrorist propaganda, though there are concerns that aggressive legislation could curtail free speech.

Under the proposal, social media services would be required to implement mechanisms to block videos that promote terrorism, incite hatred, or contain hate speech. Citing an EU diplomat, Reuters reports that the regulations would not apply to live video platforms, such as Facebook Live.

The proposals also call for on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to devote at least 30 percent of their libraries to European films and TV shows. The European Commission had previously proposed a 20 percent quota for European content. Services such as Netflix could also be required to contribute to the production of films and TV shows in EU member states.

“It is essential to have one common set of audiovisual rules across the EU and avoid the complication of different national laws,” Andrus Ansip, vice president of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market initiative, said in a statement Tuesday. “We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European films, protect children and tackle hate speech in a better way.”

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft signed on last year to a voluntary “code of conduct” in Europe, under which the companies agreed to review and remove content flagged as hateful within 24 hours. But a study commissioned by the Commission in December 2016 found that the tech companies have largely failed to comply with the agreement.

Lawmakers in Germany are considering far more aggressive legislation that would impose fines of up to €50 million ($56 million) on social media companies that fail to swiftly remove hate speech or other illegal content.

In his press statement, Ansip said negotiators from the European Parliament, Council and Commission will meet to discuss the proposed rules “in the coming weeks.”

Comments

As a European myself, I’m not a big fan of either part of this proposal. There is a chasm between inciting terrorism and hate speech. While I agree that the first must be reigned in, filtering hate speech gets way too close to filtering speech in my opinion. And it’s not very clearly defined.
The other part is just typical European protectionism. In general this leads to protecting markets artificially, which stifles innovation in the long run. If we want to compete, we should just face the challenge in front of us, not change the rules of the game to get an unfair advantage.
It’s time to learn from Brexit and other *exit initiatives popping up around Europe.

In this specific case, the result is much more likely to be that Netflix will offer a much smaller library of content in the EU to prevent breaking the 30% rule. It’s much less likely to result in more investment in European production.

This is to the right direction, but it goes too far:
- messages promoting terrorism or inciting crimes should be censored. This part is fine.
- hate speech is such an imprecise concept that it is dangerous to start censoring it. Writing "All Swedes are fagg*ts" is offensive to both Swedes and gay people, but offending someone shouldn’t be illegal just bad manners. Its geting close to the Chinese "social cohesion" arguments for censorship.
- 30% European content has nothing to do with the rest of the proposal and is just a horrible combination of French cultural insecurity and populist protectionism.

The defintion is actually reasonably clear – article 1

Yep, the second part is completely unrelated, it protectionism but unfortunately that is rampant throughout the world at the moment, not just France.

Yeah, I’m sure under the "racism" part of that they’ll instantly take down all videos making fun of red necks, crackers, and entitled white people. Are they gonna block netflix’s show "Dear White People"? Give me a break.

Article 1 is quite broad and doesn’t factor in context. Motivation is difficult to define without investigation. If I do not use a social platform much and decide to post something derogatory, it should not be immediately labeled hate speech, at least not until more information is gathered. At that point you are stepping on the toes of free speech if the government can stop you when you don’t have a known history.

It is easy for the government to want this, but it is not so trivial for these platforms to police what is effectively the world or to write an algorithm that will not make mistakes.

What these networks need is better reporting tools and a proper team to manage them. Stopping communication in transit and analyzing it is quite difficult, even for an algorithm to do properly.

Apart from speech that directly incites imminent lawless action, isn’t all speech free speech? I’ve never heard a good definition of what ‘hate speech’ actually is.

See the link I put in above.

Also, you have no automatic right to free speech in the EU (and most other countries)

The right is God-given (Or natural born if you prefer). The EU government can’t take that right away, they can only infringe on it, which is exactly what they do.

No, that is not even remotely true. You are given your rights by the society you live in and the people you interact with.

No you aren’t. That’s slave talk. Society grants government their authority, not the other way around. And societies cannot take fundamental rights away.

No, its society talk. You create a society by reaching a consensus of what each can and can’t do. Otherwise you have anarchy and a pure survival of the fittest situation.
There are no fundamental rights.

So if society thinks it’s OK to enslave black people, that’s appropriate and moral? Because that’s exactly where your line of thinking runs. When society decided it was right and moral to gas Jews, gays, and Gypsies, that was OK as well because society said it was?

Of course there are fundamental rights. Otherwise you have slavery and tyranny. The right of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are absolutely fundamental. Anyone saying otherwise is lying.

Yes, I just called you a liar. You don’t descend into anarchy by respecting the property rights of another person. You descend into tyranny by putting the collective "need" in front of individual rights though. That’s why Europe had to be re-educated in the 20th century away from their tyrannical tendencies. Unfortunately, many of you still haven’t learned that hard lesson, and have to be watched carefully, lest you repeat the errors of your ways.

Stop being evil, dude or dudette.

So if society thinks it’s OK to enslave black people, that’s appropriate and moral?

You only have to look at society in the 16th , 17th and 18th centuries to see the answer.

The right of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are absolutely fundamental.

No, they are principles of modern democratic society. They are not inherent or fundamental

Europe had to be re-educated in the 20th century away from their tyrannical tendencies

And who is going to educate Americans away from the tyrannical tendencies they have adopted?

Robb-Bunya’s point is the basis for the US government. The idea here is that people have inherent, natural rights that are not given to them by any earthly authority, and cannot be legitimately taken away by any earthly authority. To whit:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…"

If you actually think about that statement, there’s a lot to unpack, starting with the notion that governments and societies do not grand individuals rights like free speech or freedom of religion. Individuals have those rights like they have their arms and legs attached to their bodies. Governments might chop off those arms or legs, but they don’t have the right to do that. And if you want to keep your limbs intact, you better kill that guy coming at you with an axe first, regardless of whether he thinks he has some government or society who authorized his limb-hacking activities.

It’s not provable in any way. You can’t prove that God or Nature gave people the right to free speech. But you can declare that you believe this to be the case (it is self-evident) and more importantly, you’re willing to fight with anyone who wants to take these rights away from you (which frankly is the only way anyone holds onto these rights in the long run).

So no, the EU does not have the right to remove people’s rights to free speech. That right is inherent. If Europeans want to defend their inherent rights, they better get off their butts and do so.

Robb-Bunya’s point is the basis for the US government

A government created by a society.

But you can declare that you believe this to be the case (it is self-evident) and more importantly, you’re willing to fight with anyone who wants to take these rights away from you

So, back to survival of the fittest as I said. Rights are given by agreement between people , they are not inherent.

the EU does not have the right to remove people’s rights to free speech

Yes, it does because the EU government has been created by a society that has decided that one groups right to free speech cannot impinge on anothers right to freedom from intimidation

That right is inherent.

No, it is not. There is nothing in human DNA or evolution that gives any inherent rights.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…"

Written by a group of men (no women) who kept slaves.

"There are no fundamental rights."

I shudder to think what our society would look like if everyone shared your attitude :O

The fact that this notion is so widespread is why the rest of us must keep fighting it. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. If theres one thing I’ve learned, it’s that governments will always trend towards tyranny in the absence of a vigilant citizenry that is constantly reminding the government that no, you didn’t give me ANY rights and no I won’t stand for you trampling them.

Government doesn’t give us rights; we give government the temporary authority to safeguard our inherent rights. That is all. Government is our servant, we are the master. Never forget that or your rights will be gone so fast it will make your head spin. Rights like free speech are under constant attack by governments and it will never end.

You give government the power to make the laws that create those rights.
The do not exist without them.

Pretty much like it does now because it is fact

Double post

Censoring hate speech is curtailing free speech, and I’m scared of where it will lead us.

There are some viewpoints that are objectively objectionable, like racism. However, almost everyone’s idea of what constitutes racism is different to some extent, with many proclaiming that honesty in racial discussions can be inherently racist, even if the conveyor is using a factual, data-based argument.

Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, hateful people will band around each other. But who is the arbiter? Who makes the call? This is the unwritten pre-history of 1984 playing out before our eyes. Free speech must be defended, even if the speech in question sucks.

Look at Westboro Baptist Church: they’ve done more to rally people on both sides against them. We allowed them to protest, and their expression of free speech has marginalized them even further, and actually served as a rallying point to people on both the left and the right. We banded together and said, "Yeah, we disagree on a lot, but THOSE people really suck."

YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are corporations who are free to exercise their judgment on what should be allowed on their services. The free market will allow for new competitors to arise if needed. The government, however, should stay out of it.

YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are corporations who are free to exercise their judgment on what should be allowed on their services.

So all these corporations should be free to tell you total lies? For examples, to tell people that you are a paedophile? So they come and lynch you?

Banning hate speech sounds good on the surface, until it’s so loosely defined that they can construe anything remotely insulting as hate speech. Although it is not advised, ugly speech should not be banned, because you never know when someone will label something you say as hate speech. Look at Turkey, lots of people getting imprisoned for "insulting the president" by basically saying anything negative about his policies. This is one of those cases where the slippery slope argument actually holds.

Also, lynching is banned by the law. So in a society of laws this shouldn’t be a free speech issue. Perhaps you may want to change defamation laws with respect to someone tarnishing your reputation with malice, but that’s not the same as hate speech laws as they are.

One more thing, the rights that are protected in the constitution are described as "natural rights" the government protects them, but the government is not where they come from. All people have those rights. Just because a government doesn’t recognize them doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist. You bring up slave ownership, but they did not consider slaves full people, and therefore lack the natural rights (3/5ths of a person and all that) this has been rectified (13th amendment) and is no longer germane to the question of natural rights.

Even if it gets ugly sometimes, more free speech is better than less free speech. If free speech only protected speech everyone liked, we wouldn’t need the "right" because no one would object. It is only ugly speech that needs protection.

I agree the devil is in the detail but the idea that free speech is inherently above legislation is nonsense. It has to new controlled .

Also, lynching is banned by the law

Doesnt stop it happening when "free speech" whips up a mob and its very difficult to prosecute because of the numbers involved.

the rights that are protected in the constitution are described as "natural rights"

They were created by the Continental Congress who, at the time, were the government. Them describing them as ‘natural’ does not make them so.

You bring up slave ownership, but they did not consider slaves full people,

Like the Nazis labelled Jews, Romany, the disabled and many others ‘untermenschen’ (subhumans, life unworthy of life) or Extreme Islamists label Jews, Christians as infidels who must be killed, as White Supremacist label blacks and muslims are non-people?
The US constitution is a set of laws no different to any other. They are not inherent rights globally and have absolutely no relevance in the EU

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