Terrorist propaganda and content that incites violence and hatred online is a serious threat to security, safety and fundamental rights, according to a joint statement issued by European Union Vice-President Andrus Ansip, Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Věra Jourová, Julian King and Mariya Gabriel.

The five Commissioners on January 9 were slated to meet with representatives of online platforms to discuss the progress made in fighting illegal content online.

According to a European Commission press release issued ahead of the meeting, Brussels is counting on online platforms to step up and speed up their efforts to tackle these threats quickly and comprehensively, including closer cooperation with national and enforcement authorities, increased sharing of know-how between online players and further action against the reappearance of illegal content.

In May 2016, the European Commission and four major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft) announced a Code of Conduct on countering illegal online hate speech.

In June 2017, the European Council further called on the industry to develop new technology and tools to improve the automatic detection and removal of content that incites to terrorist acts, to be complemented by the relevant legislative measures at EU level, if necessary.

In October 2017 the Commission adopted its Work Programme for 2018 committing to continue to promote cooperation with social media companies to detect and remove terrorist and other illegal content online.