European Union ministers have recently approved rules that would oblige companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google to remove videos deemed as constituting “hate speech” or face fines. The move comes in an attempt to create a common legal standard across the European Union on how to deal with video content in place of the discrepancy in national laws currently.
Andrus Ansip, vice president for the digital single market, said: “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”. In order to become law, the rules must be agreed between the Council of Ministers, the European Commission and the European Parliament. This approval therefore represents an important first step in the legislative process, rather than a conclusion. While the Council of Ministers is generally seen as more influential than the European Parliament, especially on crime and security matters, the Parliament is often seen as more protective of free speech interests and other such fundamental rights.