Ursula von der Leyen – Von der Leyen: huge tech corporations have to be reined in regardless of Trump‘s exit | Ursula von der Leyen
The top of Donald Trump’s tenure within the White Home was celebrated by the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday, as she warned that the previous US president’s rise highlighted the necessity to confront the web giants who helped him unfold “conspiracy theories and fake news”.
The European fee president spoke of her aid at Trump’s departure, however warned that the outgoing chief’s motion nonetheless existed, and that the digital platforms used to unfold hate wanted to be tackled.
The deaths of 5 individuals together with a police officer on Capitol Hill had been mentioned to be proof of how “words incite action”, she mentioned, whereas noting that the homicide of the British MP Jo Cox through the “torrid days” resulting in the Brexit referendum and the storming of the Reichstag final August illustrated confirmed that Europe was not resistant to the identical forces.
Von der Leyen mentioned that in Europe in addition to the US, there have been individuals who “feel disadvantaged and are very angry … who subscribe to rampant conspiracy theories, which are often a confused mixture of completely abstruse fantasies”.
Grievances wanted to be listened to and addressed by the continent’s political leaders, she mentioned, however it may not be doable to dissuade everybody from believing “fake news” and its dissemination wanted to be tackled at supply.
Von der Leyen mentioned the expertise of latest years confirmed it was time for the tech giants to face a reckoning, with “democratic limits” imposed on their “untrammelled and uncontrolled political power”.
The fee proposed laws in December to make hate speech unlawful on-line in addition to offline and for web corporations be held chargeable for the content material on their platforms.
Giant tech corporations corresponding to Fb and Twitter would face fines of as much as 6% of their turnover ought to they fail to police their content material or share the suitable information with authorities on how they average unlawful content material.
“The aid that many people are feeling in regards to the change of administration in Washington mustn’t blind us to the truth that, though Donald Trump’s presidency may be historical past in only a few hours, his motion won’t,” Von der Leyen mentioned in a speech to the European parliament. “Greater than 70 million People voted for him within the election. Only a few days in the past, a number of hundred of them stormed the Capitol in Washington, the center of American democracy.
“The tv pictures of that occasion shocked us all. That’s what occurs when hate speech and faux information unfold like wildfire via digital media. They change into a hazard to democracy. We should always take these pictures from the USA as a sobering warning.”
The EU ought to embrace technological progress and innovation, she mentioned, however the bloc mustn’t permit those that run the most important web gamers to go unchallenged about their highly effective positions to form individuals’s lives.
“In a world in which polarising opinions are most likely to be heard, it is a short step from perverse conspiracy theories to the death of police officers,” she mentioned. “Unfortunately, the storming of Capitol Hill showed us just how true that is.”
Echoing the issues of the British authorities, Von der Leyen, a former German defence minister, mentioned Twitter’s choice to ban Trump from its platform following the invasion of Capitol Hill had additionally highlighted the necessity to rein within the energy of essentially the most highly effective actors on the web.
She mentioned: “This level can also be vital to me: regardless of how proper it may have been for Twitter to modify off Donald Trump’s account 5 minutes after midnight, such severe interference with freedom of expression ought to be primarily based on legal guidelines and never on firm guidelines. It ought to be primarily based on selections of politicians and parliaments and never of Silicon Valley managers.”