The European Union is demanding that Twitter, YouTube and Facebook censor “illegal hate speech” within 24 hours, content that includes so-called “fake news,” a term so broad that it includes perfectly legitimate news content.
Complaining that censorship is currently taking too long, EU commissioners are threatening to pass new laws if the “non-legislative approach” fails.
“The last weeks and months have shown that social media companies need to live up to their important role and take up their share of responsibility when it comes to phenomena like online radicalisation, illegal hate speech or fake news,” EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová told The Financial Times.
The fact that the EU is characterizing “fake news” in the same context as jihadist propaganda is chilling. Former UKIP leader Diane James previously told Breitbart that the EU’s definition of hate speech, “Is so vague that it is the thin end of the wedge not just to curb hate speech but free speech as well,” adding that the issue should be decided by parliaments, not by the unelected EU Commission.
As we have exhaustively documented, the “fake news” controversy is being exploited by the mainstream media to characterize completely legitimate alternative news sources, including even left-wing news outlets critical of Hillary Clinton, as fake news.
The first “fake news” list that was circulated by mainstream media outlets turned out to be created by a radical leftist social justice warrior who had a clear political bias, while the second list was slammed by Glenn Greenwald as a “McCarthyite blacklist”. Greenwald accused the Washington Post of “obviously reckless and unproven allegations” in using the list.
In a related development, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have vowed to “step up efforts to remove extremist content from their websites by creating a common database.”
The database, which will see the companies share the “unique digital fingerprints” of content deemed “extremist,” will enable such material to be removed far more quickly.
Given that the EU, which is set to meet with the internet companies later this week, now characterizes anti-EU sentiment as extremist content, it’s probably only a matter of time before legitimate dissent is targeted.