According to the guidelines announced by the European Commission on Thursday, Facebook, Alphabet’s YouTube, Twitter and other social media will be subject to EU broadcast rules on hate speech and harmful content for the first time.
The amendments to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive passed in 2018 came partly from the lobbying of broadcasters, who hoped that online platforms would assume the same obligations as traditional media companies.
The European Commission said: “Online players will have to be like traditional media players, ensuring that users are protected from hate speech and protecting minors from harmful content.”
It said: “Online platforms must take action against flagged content that incites violence, hatred, and terrorism, and ensure proper advertising and placement of products in children’s programs.”
The non-binding guidelines apply to social platforms where audiovisual content is considered essential but not a major part of their business. EU countries that must implement the rule before September 19 will have the final decision on the company list.
Media service providers that are located in an EU country but have clients with other EU countries must also help fund the production of European works in accordance with their goal of promoting European films and TV shows.
The European Commercial Television Association said: “These guidelines assume new responsibilities for online platforms, and despite their limited popularity, they are still welcome.”
It said, however, that some changes have also brought administrative work to traditional media companies, more quotas and taxation systems have reduced the financial space for investment and new services.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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