“While we clearly condemn Trump’s lies and incitement to violence, it is highly problematic that Twitter and Facebook have the power to silence a President. It is not in the name of freedom of speech that one can say just anything. And it is not in the name of protecting our societies that one can silence dissenting voices. It cannot be up to private companies to decide this. Such mechanisms need democratic scrutiny or regulatory oversight”, warned EPP Group MEPs Jeroen Lenaers and Vladimír Bilčík ahead of today’s plenary debate on the democratic scrutiny of social media.
“Online media platforms have become some of the most powerful private social actors in history. In the past, their lack of action has repeatedly led to real world violence and recently, they have silenced a democratically-elected President. Many social media companies profit from false and polarising messages because they generate clicks and internet traffic. It will be one of the key regulatory challenges of our era to draft a new set of public rules to respond to the power and potential dangers of social media. I am convinced that Europe will lead these efforts”, said Bilčík, the EPP Group’s Spokesman on Foreign Interference in Democratic Processes.
The EPP Group continues to insist on the effective enforcement of internet companies’ responsibilities to remove illegal content, be it child sexual abuse, terrorist content or incitement to violence.
“We need to update our EU-wide rules to counter the threats of the digital age. This also means legal clarity for internet companies about their obligations. Procedures, safeguards and transparency rules governing the removal of illegal content must be provided to ensure that free speech can only be restricted in accordance with the law. The internet is not a lawless space. What is illegal offline should also be illegal online”, underlined Jeroen Lenaers MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokesman on Civil Liberties.