EU parliament votes to fine internet firms for not removing extremist content quickly

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STRASBROUG (Reuters) – The European parliament voted on Wednesday to fine firms like Facebook, Google and Twitter up to 4 percent of their turnover if they persistently fail to remove extremist content within one hour of being asked to do so by authorities.

FILE PHOTO: The building of the European Parliament, designed by Architecture-Studio architects, is seen in Strasbourg, France March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler/File Photo

The measures have been brought into sharper focus since the live streaming on one of Facebook’s platforms of a lone gunman killing 50 people at two New Zealand mosques in March.

The parliament voted 308 to 204 with 70 abstentions to back the proposal to tackle the misuse of internet hosting services for “terrorist purposes” .

“Companies that systematically and persistently fail to abide by the law may be sanctioned with up to 4 percent of their global turnover,” it said.

A new European Parliament, to be elected on May 23-26, will finalize the text of the law in negotiations with the European Commission and representatives of EU governments, a process likely to take many months.

“There is clearly a problem with terrorist material circulating unchecked on the internet for too long,” said Daniel Dalton,