Welcome to new era of global digital censorship

In the battle over what limits should be imposed on online free speech, regulators worldwide are on the offensive.

France has proposed banning so-called fake news during the country’s future elections, while in Germany, new hate speech rules impose fines of up to €50 million on social media companies that don’t delete harmful content within 24 hours of being notified.

The growing push to control what can be published online will again take center stage this week when the European Commission publishes its biannual report Thursday on how Facebook, Google and Twitter are handling the hate speech lurking in social media’s darker nooks and crannies. (The likely outcome: EU policymakers will complain that companies aren’t doing enough, and threaten them with more regulation.)

Not to be outdone, U.S. lawmakers are also getting in on the action, with Congress expected to rake tech executives over the coals Wednesday for dragging their feet when clamping down on extremist and terrorist material. (Congress already berated Big Tech last year for allowing Russian-backed content to be widely shared online during the 2016 U.S. election).

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