Project Launched to Drive Awareness of New Terrorist Content Online Regulation Amongst Hosting Service Providers

Three VOX-Pol Member Institutions: Swansea University, Dublin City University, and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich will be part of a consortium to drive greater awareness of and compliance with the European Union’s new regulations to tackle terrorist content online.

The new European Union rule, which came into effect last year, obliges hosting service providers offering their services in the EU to take active steps to remove terrorist content on their platforms.

This covers hosting service providers storing information provided by and at the request of a content provider and making this information available at the request of a content provider to a potentially unlimited number of persons. Hosting service providers include social media, video, image and audio-sharing services.

The providers have one hour to remove content once they receive a removal order by the competent national authority. These competent authorities include judicial, administrative, or law enforcement bodies appointed by EU Member States. The competent authorities designated by EU Member States are made public in an online register by the European Commission.

The new regulation applies to all companies who offer their services within the European Union, irrespective of whether they are headquartered in one of the member states.

The three VOX-Pol Member Institutions will be part of a consortium to drive greater awareness of the EU’s terrorist content online (TCO) regulation through Tech Against Terrorism Europe (TATE). The initiative aims to help smaller tech companies in meeting the requirements to counter the prevalence and spread of terrorist content on their platforms.

The project comes as many tech platforms are unaware of the new obligations to tackle terrorist content, set by the European Union. This is compounded by the need for greater clarity amongst Member States themselves. In January 2023, the European Commission issued warning letters to 22 Member States for failing to comply with certain obligations from the Regulation on the dissemination of terrorist content online.

To drive awareness and best practice, Tech Against Terrorism Europe will combine unique industry-leading expertise from private sector organisations and leading academic institutions actively engaged in tackling terrorist content online.

The consortium of seven partners from six countries will ensure Tech Against Terrorism Europe will deliver long-term disruption of terrorist content online on priority platforms, providing a sustainable foundation to support smaller hosting service providers in countering terrorist content online.

Professor Stuart Macdonald of VOX-Pol said: The VOX-Pol Network is proud to have three members represented in the TATE consortium. This reflects the depth of expertise within the VOX-Pol Network and its commitment to rigorous, empirical research that has societal benefit and impact.

The Tech Against Terrorism Europe project is funded by European Union (ISF-2021-AG-TCO-101080101). This project will support smaller hosting services providers (HSPs) in building their counterterrorism frameworks and with transparency reporting, as required by the EU’s terrorist content online (TCO) regulation and in Directive (EU) 2017/541.

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