Social media companies have significantly boosted their resources to take down violent and extremist content as soon as possible in response to growing political pressure from European governments, particularly those hit by militant attacks in recent years.
Julian King, EU security commissioner, said that while a lot of progress had been made, more efforts were needed.
“We are not there yet. We are two years down the road of this journey: to reach our destination we now need to speed up our work,” King said in his closing speech at the third meeting of the EU Internet Forum, which brings together the Commission, EU member states, law enforcement and technology companies.
The EU has said it will come forward with legislation next year if it is not satisfied with progress made by tech companies in removing extremist content, while a German online hate speech law comes into effect on January 1.
The Commission is keen to avoid a patchwork of national laws on the issue, and favours a self-regulatory approach.
Members of the Internet Forum have presented a report with updates on progress made by companies and Europol in detecting and removing extremist content online.
The report, reviewed by Reuters, encourages the companies to remove “new and historical terrorist content, and to develop solutions to identify and remove terrorist content within 1-2 hours of upload, to the extent it is technically feasible, without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms”.