Internet Services

EU states OK plan to tackle social-media hate speech

Heads up, European trolls: EU ministers approved proposals to make companies like Facebook tackle hate speech on their social networks more aggressively.

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EU states are pushing for laws that would make social companies like Facebook tackle hate speech more aggressively.

James Martin/CNET

European Union states approved plans to make social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube address hate speech and calls for violence on their networks, according to a report by Reuters.

The proposals still need a vote in European Parliament before they come law, but it's the first such legislation at the EU level.

Abusive language and violent speech have proliferated on online forums almost as long as the internet has existed. However, social media companies have encountered greater pressure to tackle the threatening content as their influence on culture and society has grown.

Free-speech advocates warn that cracking down on controversial discussions skirts into censorship.

"We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European films, protect children and tackle hate speech in a better way," Andrus Ansip, the EU Commission's vice president for the digital single market, said in the Reuters report.