Capitol hill violence will prompt tougher social media regulation, says EU commissioner

European Union commissioner Thierry Breton has said violence by pro-Trump rioters at the US Capitol will prompt an era of tougher social media regulation.

The EU commissioner for internal market compared the fallout from the storming of the government building to the global crackdown on terrorism that was triggered by the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York.

The riots, which took place last week, resulted in the deaths of at least five people.

“Just as 9/11 marked a paradigm shift for global security, 20 years later we are witnessing a before-and-after in the role of digital platforms in our democracy,” said Breton in a Politico column.

He said that the Capitol Hill riot has revealed the fragility of democracy and the “threat underregulated tech companies can pose to their survival.”

Wednesday’s riots prompted social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to block Donald trump, while Amazon was among several tech companies to ban alternative social media site Parler, which is used by white supremacists who stormed the government building last week.

The EU commissioner said that these bans demonstrate that tech companies have recognised their responsibility to prevent the spread of illegal viral content, adding that these businesses can “no longer hide their responsibility toward society that they merely provide hosting services.”

Referring to the recently launched EU Digital Services Act (DSA), Breton said that although online platforms currently lack legal clarity about how they should treat illegal content, the new legislation would change this by “giving online platforms clear obligations and responsibilities to comply with these laws, granting public authorities more enforcement powers and ensuring that all users’ fundamental rights are safeguarded.”

But he added that challenges associated with online content were a global issue, and called for the EU and the new US administration to join forces to begin a dialogue leading to “globally coherent principles.”

    Share Story:

Recent Stories