EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton (Source:

Political censorship of social media has received a new boost within the EU this summer. After the new EU digital law ("Digital Services Act") was passed last November, announcements have been made in recent months by bourgeois politicians to take even tougher action.

The EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton announced in July that the EU Commission can completely block access to social networks on the basis of the law if their providers "do not take action against illegal content in social unrest". Obviously, the Frenchman's statements are in the context of the uprisings that took place a few days earlier in the working class neighbourhoods after the assassination of Nahel. Breton elaborated: "If there is hateful content, content that calls for rioting or killing, for example [...], the platforms are obliged to delete it. If they fail to do so, they will be sanctioned immediately." This would range from heavy fines to direct bans on the operation of the platforms "on the territory" of the states concerned. Threats that are nothing less than orders to the platforms, because the imperialists from the EU are obviously in a hurry here. Breton's statements followed a statement by French President Macron who, in the wake of the riots, had questioned the use of social media by young people and brought up bans, sanctions and "cutting off" access "when things cool down".

What it means in the media for "things to cool down" is specifically defined in the Digital Law as "hate speech, calls for violence or terror propaganda". What is forbidden on the street would now have to be equally combated on the web. The vagueness of these terms can be seen below. More concretely, the law has given the EU Commission and the member states access to the algorithms of "very large online platforms". These, with over 45 million monthly active users, were defined this April: Alibaba AliExpress, Amazon, Apple's App Store,, Facebook, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube and Zalando; plus the online search engines Bing and Google Search. And when things really cool down, or in other words, "If a crisis occurs, such as a threat to public safety or health," then "the Commission may require very large platforms to limit urgent threats on their platforms. These special measures are limited to three months." This includes that the "very large online platforms" "could, for example, be forced to hand over information to supervisory authorities and experts." Thus the control of the state over the the entire bourgeois media apparatus is considerably greater, its management more centralised and democracy, in this respect, sets itself up with the law to go into hibernation at the appropriate moment.

On the website of the European Parliament, the following description of the requirements for online services by the new law can be found:


More responsible online platforms

Under the new rules, intermediary services, namely online platforms - such as social media and marketplaces - will have to take measures to protect their users from illegal content, goods and services.

    • Algorithmic accountability: the European Commission as well as the member states will have access to the algorithms of very large online platforms;
    • Swift removal of illegal content online, including products, services: a clearer “notice and action” procedure where users will be empowered to report illegal content online and online platforms will have to act quickly;
    • Fundamental rights to be protected also online: stronger safeguards to ensure notices are processed in a non-arbitrary and non-discriminatory manner and with respect for fundamental rights, including the freedom of expression and data protection;
    • More responsible online marketplaces: they have to ensure that consumers can purchase safe products or services online, by strengthening checks to prove that the information provided by traders is reliable (“Know Your Business Customer” principle) and make efforts to prevent illegal content appearing on their platforms, including through random checks;
    • Victims of cyber violence will be better protected especially against non-consensual sharing of illegal content (revenge porn) with immediate takedowns;
    • Penalties: online platforms and search engines can be fined up to 6% of their worldwide turnover. In the case of very large online platforms (with more that 45 million users), the EU Commission will have exclusive power to demand compliance;
    • Fewer burdens and more time to adapt for SMEs: longer period to apply the new rules will support innovation in the digital economy. The Commission will follow closely the potential economic effects of the new obligations on small businesses.“


Of course, it is all justified by the protection of users, and furthermore, the law is meant to "ensure that freedom of expression is protected".

The law represents a blatant intervention by the state in the business of numerous monopolies and the social life of hundreds of millions. The law and its now proclaimed handling are a reaction to the development of the crisis of imperialism on the political and economic level. The control of the state over the masses is being forced, both through the algorithm access and the threatened fines for the companies, a considerable step in the reactionarisation of the state. Through the high fines, cautious steps are also being taken to impose non-European tech companies in order to develop state-monopolistic capitalism with internet companies, which have so far been very weakly developed in the imperialist countries of the EU compared globally. First to be hit, of course, is Chinese imperialism; last week the EU fined TikTok €345 million for "violations of the European General Data Protection Regulation". On that 15 September, the Digital Act measures had come into force after a four-month lead time (where affected companies could take action). While TikTok is still being diligently counted out for its data protection problems (also in the bourgeois press), it has already applied the second point of the law above much better - namely censorship.

Because in general, it is not so much a question of reporting procedures, but rather that the companies themselves, or state officials appointed by the EU Commission, ban what the imperialists don't like. And at TikTok, this matter is far advanced, and revolutionary content is of course at the forefront. We are told that uploaded short videos showing red flags at demonstrations or people shouting slogans, images of mass struggles against the police widely circulated in the bourgeois media, or clips from legal historical films are being removed from the platform for "violating community guidelines", "shocking or cruel content" or "hate speech or hateful behaviour" and "violent organisations or individuals". Thus, in practice, the measures completely expose their counter-revolutionary spirit and show the extent to which the ruling class tramples their "fundamental rights" under foot, with boots. TikTok's justifications, or rather pretexts, stand in the light of the Ampel (traffic light) government's well-mannered arguments to justify its measures. Only last Monday, the Federal Commissioners for Anti-Discrimination and Minority Rights published a joint statement in which they expressed concern about "misanthropy in social media" and an "increasing number of hate crime offences", which "in the worst case would lead to extremist and terrorist attacks". This would harm democracy and often be directed against groups or minorities such as "refugees, against Jews and Muslims, against Sinti and Roma, women, people with disabilities, against queer people and others". And so they conclude: "The prohibition of discrimination in Article 3 of our Constitution must be respected and lived". And once again the matter is turned on its head and the German bourgeoisie makes itself the protector of its chosen victim. For it is precisely important paragraphs from the constitution, such as the right to freedom of expression and much that is similar to it, that are once again being undermined. While the state gains more and more control over the public expression of citizens, it continues to do the "democratic number" against hate speech.

On the issue of social media censorship, we were also told that these processes would sometimes take place in seconds, which does not really suggest human control. In fact, although not official due to secrecy, it is very obvious that the major social media companies are using artificial intelligence - apparently with a good eye for what the bourgeoisie calls "politically motivated crime" - in the struggle against "disinformation", or whatever one wants to call hostile content.