Controversy over European Commission “mob” comment

18 February 2019

A controversial article by the European Commission, posted on Medium (originally here, but since removed, and available in archive version here) has been criticised for referring to critics of the Copyright Directive as a “mob”. The article criticises the use of “catchy slogans” such as “censorship machines” and “link tax” as being invoked at the expense of “the truth”; furthermore, the article opines that platforms such as Google and Facebook “pay to persuade” the public that the EU is acting contrary to public interest. The article has since been removed, reading:

“This article published by the Commission services was intended to reply to concerns, but also to misinterpretations that often surround the copyright directive proposal. We acknowledge that its language and title were not appropriate and we apologise for the fact that it has been seen as offending.”

The issue was later raised during a JURI meeting on 18 February, where MEP Timeo Wölken stated that: “It’s not an angry mob – it’s concerned young people who are worried about disappearing culture – and that is a major concern” (also referencing the protests of some 2,000 citizens in Cologne).