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It’s therefore crucial that new EU legislation in this field considers such consequences and mitigates any collateral damage.
With the adoption of the EU’s E-Commerce Directive in 2000, policymakers put the decision about what kind of content should be removed into the hands of hosting companies.
As soon as businesses run the risk of being held liable for user-uploaded content, they have a strong commercial incentive to remove anything that could remotely be considered illegal – anywhere they operate.
To make things worse, many platforms use broad and often vaguely worded terms of service.
As the EFF report states: “Content moderation does not affect all groups evenly, and has the potential to further disenfranchise already marginalised communities.” Because none of the big social media companies today include any statistical information about wrongful take-downs and removals in their transparency reports, we can only rely on publicly available evidence to understand the scale of this problem.
The examples we know, however, indicate that it’s big.
It often requires a complex legal analysis that takes into account local laws, customs, and context.