Stricter control is expected over social media platforms

A procedure of the Court of Justice of the European Union was initiated in order to provide Member States greater control over social media websites regarding shared illegal content. The CJU arrived on its decision on 3 October 2019, where it broadens the liability of the social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.

Previously these platform providers were not liable for illegal content as long as they did not have knowledge about the contents illegality, or they removed or made the content in question unenviable as soon as possible. In a previous case the CJU also outlined that these platform providers should also comply with the national judgements, especially when states request removal.

The CJU argued in its decision that based on the international law, national states could require internet providers internationally to make a specific content unavailable, but this remains only an optional tool in the fight for illegal content as countries can decide whether they want to apply these rules.

Those who oppose the new judgment claim that the decision impacts the freedom of expression, since it requires internet providers to automatically remove the requested content without considering its illegality. This decision also makes it possible for a national judge to issue a decision in which it requests the removal of a content in another state, where the content is not considered unlawful.

Experts argue that it still remains a question how the largest social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can monitor the lawfulness of their content without monitoring each and every user.

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