French companies will have one hour to remove content at police demand

A law passed today in France obliges internet platforms to remove content within an hour or face huge fines, reports the BBC. The law concerns content related to terrorism or child sexual abuse, as determined by police.

There are also fears that such tech could be used against groups such as protesters.

"Since 2015, we already had such a law that allowed the police to ask for the removal of some content if they deemed it to be terrorist… this has been used multiple times in France to censor political content," the spokesman said.

"Giving the police such a power, without any control… is obviously for us an infringement on the freedom of speech."

Even large companies able to staff moderation crews 24/7 will have no effective window to review requests, let alone challenge them. Indeed, the only practical way to obey the laws will be to make the process as automatic as possible, which is surely the point.

Fines are up to 4% of global turnover, which (for example) would work out to about 2.8bn for Facebook.