Illegal Content

The law is clear; what is illegal offline is illegal online. And a bevy of European laws – such as the directive on combating terrorism (2017) and the directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (2011) – have been promulgated over the years, requiring platforms to remove illegal content "expeditiously," in the words of the electronic commerce directive (2000), once they are notified or in some other way become aware of its existence.

A short list of offences covered by these rules includes incitement to terrorism, xenophobic hate speech with intent to incite, copyright infringement and child abuse. Few dispute the underlying principles at stake, but the debate grows heated over how – and how quickly – platforms should be legally bound to remove illegal material when it appears. How much redress do platform users have if they believe their content was removed unjustifiably? And how much duty do the platforms have to cooperate pro-actively with security and law enforcement services?

The European Commission has provided a handy framework: a communication on tackling illegal content online (2017) and a recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online (2018). These guidelines are non-binding, but – faced with a rise in phenomena like terrorism – some governments have stepped in with steeper, more binding rules. Germany is a case in point. Its Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG), threatens large fines if "manifestly unlawful" material does not disappear from platforms within 24 hours of notification. France’s proposed Loi contre les contenus haineux sur Internet (the "Avia law," named for sponsor Laetitia Avia), would do the same.

Put simply, the discussion boils down to several simple determinations: is illegal content coming down quickly enough? Are the rules and codes of conduct strong enough to prevent damage from occurring given the speed with which harm can take place? Is the volume of illegal content decreasing given the measures already in place, and is it decreasing quickly enough? And if stronger measures are needed, how can they be constructed to obtain better results without violating important rights such as privacy, redress and free speech?

The evidence presented in this section cover illegal content broadly. Separate sections will deal with more concrete aspects, such as incitement to terrorism, hate speech and copyright infringement. Additional information on illegal content online can be found on the World Intermediary Liability Map (WILMap), led by the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

Records 21 - 30 of 38


chart preview

Number of Videos Removed by Google Under Their Child Safety Policy

The chart shows the number of videos removed by Google under their Child Safety policy, starting from September 2018. The latest available data refers to the last trimester of 2019 (October - December 2019) and shows an increase of videos' removal compared to the previous trimester.
chart preview

Number of Web Pages containing Adverts or Links to Child Sexual Abuse Material

The chart provides information on the number of web pages containing adverts or links to child sexual abuse imagery, according to the age of children. The data shows an increase of these web pages in 2019 by 26% compared to 2018 and by 70% compared to 2017.
chart preview

Overview of the Number of Reported Items by Platform in Germany (2018)

The chart presents the data reported by tech companies under the Germany’s Network Enforcement Act about the number of items reported and removed in 2018. The data do not account for other removals based on other types of complaints, referrals, or injunctions.
chart preview

Percentage of Content Found by Facebook as Containing Adult Nudity and Sexual Activity Compared to the Content Reported by the Users

This chart shows the percentage of content found by Facebook as containing adult nudity and sexual activity compared to the content reported by the users. As the result shows, the percentage of content actioned that Facebook found and flagged before users reported it is significantly higher that the one reported by users. Moreover, this number has constantly increased throught the period under analysis.
chart preview

Percentage of Content Found by Facebook as Containing Child Nudity and Exploitation Compared to the Content Reported by the Users

This chart shows the percentage of content found by Facebook as containing child nudity and exploitation compared to the content reported by the users. The percentage reported by users is significantly lower that the one found by Facebook.
chart preview

Percentage of Content Found by Facebook as Containing Spam Compared to the Content Reported by the Users

This chart shows the percentage of content found by Facebook as containing spam compared to the content reported by the users. As the results show, almost all of the content containing spam was first found by Facebook (the percentage remains between 99.7% and 99.9% for the whole period).
chart preview

Percentage of European Businesses who Support Proposed Changes to the Single Market

This chart exhibits that an overwhelming majority of Europeans businesses support enacting reforms to the current single market structure in order to promote expansion and further development across sectors. The most favored reform was cutting redtape, including but not limited to "extensive reporting, information or documentation obligations."
chart preview

Products Affected by Government Requests of Removal (2019)

According to the chart, YouTube, Web search, and Blogger are the products with the most frequent government requests to remove content, but dozens of other products are also affected (last access, 30 April 2020).
chart preview

Share of Web Addresses Requested to Be Delisted (2020)

The chart shows the percentage of web addresses that have been delisted after review out of total requests received. The data cover the period 29 May 2014 to 23 April 2020. Web addresses delisting requests that are still pending review, or that require additional information in order to process, are not included in the graph. The last access date of the live chart is 24 April 2020.
chart preview

Sources and Destinations for European Small and Midsize Enterprises Imports and Exports

This chart highlights that the overwhelming majority of European SMEs rely heavily on the European Single Market, with SMEs receiving 81% of their imports from and sending 81% of their exports to other EU Member States.