Fighting Terrorism Online: EU Internet Forum committed to an EU-wide Crisis Protocol


(Avi Richards, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

Today, the participants of the 5th EU Internet Forum, hosted by Commissioners Avramopoulos and King, have committed to an EU Crisis Protocol – a rapid response to contain the viral spread of terrorist and violent extremist content online. The Commission, Member States and online service providers, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, and Snap have committed to working together on a voluntary basis within the framework set out by the Crisis Protocol, while ensuring strong data protection and fundamental rights safeguards. The EU Internet Forum also discussed the overall progress made in ensuring the removal of terrorist content online since its last meeting in December 2018 as well as how to strengthen cooperation on other challenges, such as child sexual exploitation online.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Since I launched the EU Internet Forum 4 years ago, it has gone from strength to strength, offering Member States and online platforms an effective framework to work together to tackle terrorist content online. We have managed to build a strong relationship of trust and mutual understanding with the internet platforms. I am pleased with the progress we are making and the remarkable results we have achieved. Today, we are taking this cooperation another step further with an EU Crisis Protocol. With this, we will be ready to act quickly, effectively and in a more coordinated way to stop the spread of terrorist content.”   

Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King added: “The events in New Zealand earlier this year were a stark reminder that terrorist content spreads online at a tremendous speed. While our response might be quick, it isn’t quick enough. The Protocol is an EU response to contain the havoc created by such events – in a coordinated way.”

In the aftermath of the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, government leaders and online platforms agreed on the Christchurch Call for Action. On this occasion, President Juncker announced the development of an EU Crisis Protocol in the context of the EU Internet Forum. The EU Protocol will allow Member States and online platforms to respond rapidly and in a coordinated manner to the dissemination of terrorist content online in the event of a terrorist attack.

The EU Crisis Protocol endorsed by the EU Internet Forum today will:

  •     Provide a coordinated and rapid reaction: Member States’ authorities, together with Europol, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) and online service providers will be able to respond quickly, in a coordinated manner to ensure that the spread of terrorist or violent extremist content is swiftly contained.
  •     Facilitate public and private sector cooperation: In the event of a crisis, law enforcement authorities and online service providers will share relevant information on the online content (e.g., URLs, audio-visual media, and metadata) on a voluntary basis, in a secure way and in real time.
  •     Facilitate a voluntary arrangement: The Protocol does not replace national legal frameworks or existing national crisis management mechanisms. It should apply only to extraordinary situations where those national measures are no longer sufficient to coordinate a rapid and cross-border response.

The EU Internet Forum also discussed the overall progress made in ensuring the removal of terrorist content online since its last meeting in December 2018 and looked at the emerging challenges. This included, for the first time, a discussion on the global threat of online child sexual abuse and exploitation. Cooperation between public authorities and online platforms is key to fight against these horrible crimes effectively. Participants also took stock of the work to tackle the challenges presented by right wing extremism and the radicalising effect of violent political discourse.


The EU Internet Forum was launched by Commissioner Avramopoulos in December 2015 to address internet misuse by terrorist groups. It brings together EU Home Affairs Ministers, the internet industry and other stakeholders who work together voluntarily to address this complex issue. Since its creation, the EU Internet Forum meets annually to take stock of the progress made in removing terrorist content online and to discuss emerging challenges. In 2015, an efficient referral mechanism to flag and remove terrorist content online was created at Europol.

In 2016, at the EU Internet Forum, the industry announced the creation of the “database of hashes” to make removals permanent and irreversible. The database is a critical tool in stemming the spread of terrorist content online. Since its launch, the database has gathered over 200,000 hashes (pictures, videos, etc.) and has helped both large and small platforms to remove such content quickly.

President Juncker announced the development of the EU Protocol in Paris earlier this year when he attended a meeting of government leaders and CEOs of major online platforms that was co-hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

A first exercise to operationalise the Protocol already took place at Europol on 11 September 2019.

The EU Crisis Protocol will contribute to efforts undertaken at global level in the context of the Christchurch call, in particular the Crisis Response Protocol as announced in September at the margins of 2019 UNGA.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN’s AIDS agency ‘greatly encouraged’ by latest scientific breakthrough showing cure is possible

First-ever UN report on disability and development, illustrates inclusion gaps

Medical Studies During COVID-19: How the Pandemic Affects this Generation of Doctors-to-be

To tackle climate change, we need city diplomacy

Cameron’s Conservatives and UKIP are exploiting and cultivating anti-EU immigration sentiment but Labour party isn’t?

On our way to China

Gender-Based Violence and HIV/SRHR – The commonly ignored linkages we need to open our eyes for

Women Win in the West

Commission celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Jean Monnet Activities promoting European studies worldwide

EU-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement sees the light as Moscow’s reaction once more looms

Top UN Syria envoy hails ‘impressive’ start to historic talks in Geneva

Climate change helped destroy these four ancient civilisations

Why do medical students have to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Did Draghi ask the Germans to accept a drastic change of austerity policies?

IMF: How To Deal With Failed Banks

Mental health and suicide prevention-what can be done to increase access to mental health services in my region?

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

Why remote working doesn’t have to mean alienated employees

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Fitbit by Google, subject to conditions

New EU rules ensure better protection for 120 million holidaymakers this summer

The Ultimate Career Choice: General Practice Specialist

Yemen consultations have started, insists top UN negotiator

How Leonardo da Vinci’s outsider status made him a Renaissance man

EU Strategy on COVID-19 vaccines must guarantee safety and accessibility for all

A renewed agenda for Research and Innovation: Europe’s chance to shape the future

These are the top 10 countries for women’s rights and opportunities

Latin America’s cities are ready to take off. But their infrastructure is failing them

#EUBeachCleanUp: EU organises record number of cleaning actions worldwide

Five things everybody needs to know about the future of Journalism

‘BioSolar Leaves’ are better at cleaning the air than trees, say the technology’s developers

Belgium eases lockdown with free train tickets for every citizen

Banning out-of-hours work emails could make some employees more stressed, research finds

The hidden downside to ocean data and how to make it more sustainable

UN chief welcomes resolution to 27-year-old disagreement over renaming the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

This architect explains why racist statues are no longer relevant and describes how to replace them

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, who gets it and who pays the bill?

It’s time to fulfil the promises made to women 25 years ago

Fostering global citizenship in medical students through exchanges

The eight types of AI you should know about


Misinformation: The hidden pandemic?

Deal agreed to protect consumers against misleading and unfair practices

Welfare of transported animals: MEPs urge EU states to do a better job

What Mary Poppins teaches us about behavioural economics

Parliament toughens its position on banking union

Global hunger is on the rise. These simple steps could help eradicate it

Cobalt mining is a global scandal. We must build an ethical battery

UN welcomes ‘milestone’ release of 833 Nigerian children from anti-Boko Haram force

Quality of air in Bucharest-Romania: is it fog or is it smog?

ECB ready to counter the rise of the euro?

Yoga as medicined for the mental distress amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: integrative and complementary practices

COVID-19: Revised rules to encourage banks to lend to companies and households

Young activists do the talking as UN marks World Children’s Day

Why COVID-19 makes a compelling case for the wider integration of blockchain

Stigmatized, shunned and shamed, International Widows’ Day draws attention to their unique needs

These are some of Coursera’s most popular coding courses

Who holds the key to the future of biotechnology? You do

The European Sting Cookie Policy

How building renovations can speed up the electric vehicle revolution

Eurozone: The crisis hit countries are again subsidizing the German and French banks

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s