Insights European Regulation on tackling the dissemination of terrorist content online comes into force

The new Regulation (2021/784/EU), which came into force on 8 May 2021, targets content such as texts, images, sound recordings or videos, including live transmissions, that incite, solicit or contribute to terrorist offences, provide instructions for such offences or solicit people to participate in a terrorist group. In line with the definitions of offences included in the Combating Terrorism Directive (2017/541/EU), it also covers material that provides guidance on how to make and use explosives, firearms and other weapons for terrorist purposes.

Once the Regulation is effective in Member States, hosting service providers will have to remove or disable access to flagged terrorist content in all Member States within one hour of receiving a removal order from the competent authority. Member States will have to adopt rules on penalties, the degree of which will take into account the nature of the breach and the size of company responsible.

Content uploaded for educational, journalistic, artistic or research purposes, or used for awareness-raising purposes, will not be considered terrorist content under these new rules.

Further, internet platforms will not have a general obligation to monitor or filter content. However, when competent national authorities have established that a hosting service provider is exposed to terrorist content, the company will have to take specific measures to prevent its propagation. It will then be up to the service provider to decide what specific measures to take to prevent this from happening, and there will be no obligation to use automated tools. Companies will have to publish annual transparency reports on what action they have taken to stop the dissemination of terrorist content.

The Regulation comes into effect in Member States in 12 months’ time, i.e. on 7 June 2022. To read the Commission’s press release in full and for a link to the Regulation text, click here.