In terror fight, tech companies caught between US and European ideals

"“It’s so easy to point to the need for internet companies to do more that that becomes a real rallying cry,” says Daphne Keller, the director of Intermediary Liability at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, and a former associate general counsel to Google. “In European lawmaking, they don’t have very good tech advice on what’s really possible. And the cost of a badly drafted law won’t fall on their constituents, so the temptation to engage in magical thinking is very great.” With a law like the one Germany has proposed, she and other say, the only way to comply with it would be to remove everything flagged, since there’s no time allowed for nuanced decisionmaking.

“We’re delegating decisions about the kinds of things that, if it was a Supreme Court decision, would be incredibly sensitive, and we’d be hanging on every word,” says Ms. Keller. “Instead, we have private companies doing it in back rooms.”

Since terms of service apply globally, this has the effect of making EU speech norms apply to everyone, even though in many cases their definitions of hate speech and extremist speech are very broad – so broad that Professor Citron says they can “easily encompass political dissent” and turn into what she calls “censorship creep.”
“One politician's terrorist speech is another person's political dissent,” she says.
Under that sort of pressure, Citron says, “who becomes the censor is really the government.""