Some social media content may be illegal. This may include certain types of hate speech and threats, online harassment, grossly abusive content, illegal sexual content, encouragement to attempt suicide, and threats of terrorism.
The largest social media platforms now have a legal duty under the EU’s Digital Services Act to provide you with a mechanism to notify them about illegal content. They must consider your notification and take action if they agree the content is illegal. They must do this within a reasonable time and must let you know the outcome. They must also have an internal complaint-handling system, which you can use if you are dissatisfied with their decision.
The above duties currently apply to seven large social media platforms whose EU headquarters is in Ireland: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. The obligation also applies to Snapchat.
Some online marketplaces, search engines and other large online platforms are also covered by the rules on reporting illegal content. Those based in Ireland are Apple App Store, Bing, Google Maps, Google Play, Google Shopping and Google Search. Those based in other Member States are Alibaba AliExpress, Amazon, Booking.com, Wikipedia and Zalando.
Most other online services also have mechanisms for users to report content that they consider is illegal, but this will not be a legal requirement for other online platforms until 17 February 2024.