Home Europe Social media riot shutdowns possible under EU content law, top official says

Social media riot shutdowns possible under EU content law, top official says

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Social media platforms like TikTok and Snapchat will face possible shutdowns when they don’t crack down on problematic content during riots under the European Union’s content law, Internal Commissioner Thierry Breton said Monday.

Breton, a French politician, was responding in a French radio interview to comments by French President Emmanuel Macron that floated closing down some social media to clamp down on riots. Some critics likened this to measures seen in authoritarian states like China and Iran.

“When there is hateful content, content that calls – for example – for revolt, that also calls for killing and burning of cars, they will be required to delete [the content] immediately,” Breton said in the interview on France Info, citing the Digital Services Act which will impose new requirements on large platforms from August 25.

“If they fail to do so, they will be immediately sanctioned. We have teams who can intervene immediately,” he said. “If they don’t act immediately, then yes, at that point we’ll be able not only to impose a fine but also to ban the operation [of the platforms] on our territory.”

Nineteen very large online platforms including TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter will have to comply with new legal obligations to limit the spread of illegal and harmful content from next month. Platforms with over 45 million users in the EU will also have to hand the Commission a first detailed assessment of their major risks for users. They risk potential fines of up to 6 percent of their global revenue.

Breton also said the Commission will carry out a “stress test” on TikTok next week to check how ready it is to comply with the new rules. Twitter has already done a test and Meta has agreed to be tested this month.

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