The European Commission has called on social media platforms to crack down on hate speech, terrorist propaganda and other illegal content, warning that rules may be toughened if the industry fails to regulate itself. EU Security Commissioner Julian King said on Monday, after a meeting that included representatives of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. “Illegal terrorist content online has incited too many attacks.

“Today we discussed, with industry, the need for faster action. If possible on a voluntary basis, but if necessary, we’ll look at further steps,’’ King said. According to European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip, if platforms will not act proactively, legislators will. Internet regulation is a hot topic in Germany, where a new law compelling online giants to remove hate speech, fake news and other illegal posts has come under fire from both the media industry and political leaders. The commission, the EU’s executive, warned ahead of Tuesday’s meeting that greater efforts are required to remove illegal internet content.

“Even if tens of thousands of pieces of illegal content have been taken down, there are still hundreds of thousands more out there. “Also removal needs to be speedy: the longer illegal material stays online, the greater its reach,’’ King, Ansip and three other commissioners said in a joint statement. In May 2016, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft agreed with the commission on a code of conduct aimed at cracking down on illegal hate speech. A review of its effectiveness is due to be published later this month.


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