Rules on Removing Terrorist Content Online Now Applicable
7 June 2022
2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg Thomas Wahl

On 7 June 2022, Regulation (EU) 2021/784 on addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online became applicable. From now on internet companies in the EU must take swift measures to prevent the misuse of their services for dissemination of terrorist content. For a detailed summary of the Regulation → eucrim 2/2021, 95-97. The new legal framework aims at preventing terrorists from easily exploiting the internet to recruit, encourage attacks, provide training and glorify their crimes. Negative examples had been the livestreamed terrorist attacks of Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019 and of Buffalo, USA in May 2022.

The main elements of Regulation 2021/784 are:

  • Obligation for Hosting Service Providers (HSPs) to remove terrorist content online within one hour after receiving a removal order from a competent national authority of an EU Member States;
  • Limited scrutiny of cross-border removal orders by the competent authority of the Member State where the HSP has its main establishment or where its legal representative resides;
  • Obligation for platforms to take proactive measures when they are exposed to terrorist content;
  • Inclusion of several safeguards to ensure respect with fundamental rights, in particular freedom of expression and the right to information;
  • Obligation for Member States to sanction platforms for non-compliance with the obligations under the Regulation.

In order to ensure a smooth application of the Regulation, the Commission has been holding workshops for Member States and HSPs since the entry into force of the Regulation on 7 June 2021. Europol has also developed an EU platform on addressing illegal content online (PERCI) to support the implementation of the Regulation. In doing so, it is ensured that HSPs can receive removal orders from Member States through a common secure channel.

The Commission Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs provides a dedicated website on terrorist content online. Next to factsheets, it includes an online register of competent national authorities and contact points, which is continuously updated. The website also informs about the EU Internet Forum – a platform for the exchange of trends and evolution of terrorists’ use of the internet as well as for tackling child sexual abuse online.