EU's proposed Article 13 could threaten the internet, memes

The proposed law, which requires large platforms like Facebook and Reddit to scan content for stolen material, has sparked concern.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET analyzing tech trends while also writing news, reviews and commentaries across mobile, streaming and online culture. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
2 min read
Cloud and smartphones over map of Europe

A new EU law could bring big changes to the internet.  

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The European Parliament will vote Wednesday on legislation that some argue could change the internet as we know it. 

The proposed law, Article 13, would require large platforms like Facebook and Reddit to scan content before it's posted online and take down material they think could be stolen. 

That means memes, which often use pictures that are subject to copyright, could be targeted, the Independent reports

In an open letter to the president of the European Parliament, tech experts and prominent figures -- including World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales -- said Article 13 presented an "imminent threat" to the future of the internet.

"By requiring Internet platforms to perform automatic filtering all of the content that their users upload, Article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users," the letter states.

Authors of the letter also wrote that they doubt the legality of Article 13, saying it goes against the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

David Kaye, a UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression also published a letter online, which outlined his concern that Article 13 would lead to censorship.

A spokesperson for the European Parliament didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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