Tag Archives: Facebook

MEPs against terrorist content online

Members of European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee agreed on September 24 to begin discussions with EU ministers on new EU rules to tackle the dissemination of terrorist content on the internet.

 

According to the draft legislation, internet companies hosting content uploaded by users (like Facebook or YouTube) that offer their services in the EU will have to remove terrorist content when told to do so by the competent national authority, at the latest within one hour of receiving the order.

The European Parliament adopted its position on this proposal last April and the Civil Liberties Committee confirmed it with 55 votes in favour to 6 against and 4 abstentions. EP and Council negotiators will soon begin the discussions on the final form of the rules.

MEPs do not wish platforms to be obliged to monitor the content they upload or to have to apply automatic filters.

Parliament also wants to ensure that free speech and press freedom are guaranteed, so MEPs made it clear that the expression of polemic or controversial views on sensitive political questions should not be considered terrorist content.

Negotiations with the Council of the EU may start as soon as the negotiating mandate is confirmed by plenary, which will consider the proposal at the 9-10 October session in Brussels.

Zuckerberg answers to MEPs questions

Mark Zuckerberg will come to the European Parliament on the 22 of May to answer MEPs questions, however the will be a meeting behind closed doors with the Conference of presidents – the leaders of the EP political groups. President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani added that he will inform media about the results of the meeting, however at present there is no indication if Mr.Zuckerberg joins the president to exchange with Brussels press corps.

Amended 21/05/2018: President Tajani announced the meeting would be web streamed on May 22, 18:15-19:30 from European Parliament Brussels:

Twitter VIP and other political clients

Twitter Inc management confirmed that accounts belonging to world leaders have special status on the microblog network, frustrating users who have called on the company to banish U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,” Twitter said in a post on a corporate blog.

Twitter’ management has declared previously that “newsworthiness” and whether a tweet is “of public interest” are among the factors it considers before removing an account or a tweet.

The public concerns about legal framework of powers of social media are at rise, amid closure or a number of prominent political players: the beginning of this year Greek party Golden Dawn, the third group in the parliament discovered their microblog was shut down. In Germany Twitter blocked for 12 hours the account of Beatrix von Storch, the deputy parliamentary leader for the  Alternative for Germany party.

The sequence of events started when Cologne police tweeted a New Year’s greeting in Arabic, along with English and French, von Storch reacted on Twitter: “What the hell is happening in this country? Why is an official police site tweeting in Arabic? Do you think it is to appease the barbaric, gang-raping hordes of Muslim men?”. She clearly referred to the dramatic events in Cologne when hundreds of German women were trapped as victims of sexual assaults by migrants during New Year celebration at central square of town.

However, Beatrix von Storch Twitter microblog was blocked/suspended, the Facebook page with the similar message reacted by deleting her post: “Facebook has now also censored me. This is the end of the rule of law.” – the deputy leader of AfD wrote.

Both Twitter and Facebook as well as YouTube campaigned against the new law called the Network Enforcement Act, which gives social media firms 24 hours to remove content considered sedition, threat, insult or slander. Civil rights groups have raised concern about the damages to free speech.

 

 

 

Teleguided democracy vs. social networks

Shareholders have proposed that Facebook Inc prepare a report on the threat to democracy and free speech from so-called ‘fake’ news spread on the social media forum, and the dangers it may pose to the company itself, according to US mass-media reports.

The proposal, which suggested Facebook had provided “a financial mechanism supporting fabricated content” on the internet, suggests the company review the issue broadly, including the extent to which it blocks ‘fake’ posts, how its strategies impact free speech and how it evaluates claims in posts.

“Facebook is highly vulnerable, as ‘fake’ news promoters are spamming their way to visibility for fake news through strategically gaming Facebook’s algorithms and publishing platform,” the proposal states.

“In light of the societal crisis generated by the explosion of ‘fake’ news and related hate speech, failure to effectively manage this issue creates public policy risk,” it said.

The move is a part of a broader movement of the establishment against social media seen a threat to teleguided democracy and increased demands of citizens to consult them prior to taking crucial political decisions. The term ‘fake’ news was coined to label any unfiltered by establishment piece of information, bypassing existing filters represented by mainstream media claiming to be the ultimate guardians of ‘free speech’.

 

ALDE-Five Stars: marriage of convenience?

 

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Serge Turbin OPINION

The news from the European Parliament of The Five Star Movement (M5S, Italy) joining the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) puzzled many of Brussels pundits and experts. Moreover, the European Liberal Youth (LYMEC), ALDE’s youth wing, issued a statement condemning this move: “LYMEC understands the urge to grow the liberal group in the European Parliament; however, we do not believe this should be done at the expense of giving up on fundamental liberal values and principles. Accepting EU- and Euro-sceptic, populist 5 Star Movement would be to do so”.

An anti-establishment, anti-globalist and Eurosceptic Italian political party led by charismatic comedian Beppe Grillo, considers leaving the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group in the European Parliament and joining pro-federal European ALDE group. In an online voting, the M5S members approved the decision to depart from the group that the 17 M5S MEPs share with Nigel Farage’s UKIP. Now the ball is in the ALDE court, with executive committee of the ALDE bureau set to pronounce its verdict today.

ALDE assessment of the 7 conditions of Moviemento 5 Stelle: incompatible with our own pro-European political programme. To accept the party of Beppe Grillo in its ranks, would be to abandon the European project and the urgent reforms it desperately needs. It is impossible for any responsible, pro-European group to take the M5S on board”, – wrote Mr Verhofstadt on his Facebook page on the 11th of June 2014, commenting on EP elections results. Today, two and a half years later, ALDE’s assessment has dramatically reversed; and the post has been deleted, correspondingly.

The ALDE bureau is expected to give the green light to the controversial political merger that would propel ALDE to the third largest group in the legislature. Remarkable, this unexpected marriage of convenience is being orchestrated just days after ALDE group’s leader Guy Verhofstadt declared his bid for Parliament presidency. Being the leader of the third largest group in the Parliament may boost Mr Verhofstadt’s chances. And yet, it inflicts sustained damage in the long term, tarnishing Mr Verhofstadt’s personal integrity and ALDE’s institutional credibility.

The prospect of M5S entering ALDE has sent shockwaves among ALDE individual members, and become a central theme of their online debates – pushing their daily routine criticism of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin further apart. Emotionally, many Italian members have promised to terminate their party membership, cut their membership cards and disavowed their support for Mr Verhofstadt’s presidential bid.

Mr Verhofstadt has been well-known as a ferocious critic of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, EPP vice-president. With Beppe Grillo in the ALDE ranks, the liberal leader conveniently exposes himself to any potential EPP counter-attack.

Serge Turbin, Brussels, 9/01/2017