A senior adviser to the European Union’s Court of Justice said Facebook and other social media platforms can be ordered to remove content that is equivalent to content that an EU court has deemed illegal, such as hate speech and defamation—a move that intensifies the debate on how far social media companies must go to monitor and control online content, even across borders.

The recommendation, if followed by the EU’s Court of Justice, will increase the requirements on Facebook and other digital platforms to remove illegal content worldwide, although it does not require the company to carry out general monitoring for unlawful material.

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