Page tree

Definition

This section covers website content added by users.

Some websites owners allow users to add content. These users are members of the public (e.g. citizens, stakeholders, other organisations). The type of content they may add is:

  • comments on existing content
  • contribution to the EU decision-making process
  • feedback and/or suggestions
  • views on particular matters
  • platforms providing citizens the opportunity to debate on EU policy, challenges and priorities
  • specific content sharing platforms.

Irrespective of the nature of the content added by users, moderation is a means to identify and delete unsuitable content as fast as possible to protect the European Commission’s reputation.

What is unsuitable content?

The following content must always be deemed unsuitable:

  • abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, xenophobic, threatening or sexually-oriented comments
  • spam, advertising for a website or product
  • duplicate content, where the same content has been posted more than once by the same user
  • off-topic comments
  • links to illegal or pirated software.

Rules

Unmoderated user-generated content on websites in the europa.eu domain is not permitted. Site owners must monitor what appears on their site, and detect and delete unsuitable content as quickly as possible.

Moderation

Moderation may be carried out by:

  • web masters
  • contractors in charge of support and maintenance.

The moderator is responsible for:

  • ensuring the moderation rules are clearly explained, and users are aware that unsuitable content will be removed
  • performing regular audits of pages with public content, looking for unsuitable content
  • removing unsuitable content as soon as possible
  • ensuring the continuity of the moderation procedure in his/her absence.

NB: The moderator may invite users to report any contribution they find inappropriate. For example, by offering users to fill in and send a report feedback form created for this purpose. If the opportunity to report unsuitable content is given to users, the moderator is responsible for receiving the feedback and removing the content when unsuitable.  

There are two types of moderation:

  • pre-moderation: the content is verified and authorised before publication. Pre-moderation should always be the preferred option.
  • post-moderation: the content is verified by a moderator after publication and can be deleted if unsuitable. Post-moderation should be limited to exceptional cases justified by business needs.

Any user-generated content on Commission websites must be either pre- or post-moderated by the service that owns the website. Specific content contribution rules should be available and accepted by the users.

Pre-moderation

The content is checked before it goes live based on the content contribution rules published on the website.

An appropriate privacy statement must appear on the website that mentions the content is user generated with pre-moderation. Users have to agree with this statement.

If the site offers the possibility to post content anonymously, without registration, then the site owner should pre-moderate posts.

Post-moderation

Post-moderation is limited to cases justified by exceptional business needs and must respect the conditions below:

  • users must login using EU Login and the accounts are approved ahead of any publication
  • specific Terms of Use are available and accepted by the users
  • resources are available for sufficient and timely post-moderation (ideally within 48h after the post) to ensure application of Terms of Use
  • rules on the post-moderation are agreed and published on the website
  • there must be an appropriate privacy statement to which users have to agree. The statement should mention the content is user generated with post-moderation.

Statement and identification

Websites that allow users to add content should clearly state this. Site owners must define and document a clear procedure for moderation and inform users about it.

  • Add a visible disclaimer to the home page and every page’s footer.

Example disclaimer:

“All user-generated content is provided as-is. The European Commission does not endorse any views, opinions or advice expressed by visitors to this website.”

  • Add a paragraph to the site’s terms of use.

Example paragraph:

“Although the use of the website requires all users to comply with these Terms of Use, some inappropriate user-generated content may still be submitted and displayed. We reserve the right to edit, move, or delete any content that violates the Terms of Use or Community Guidelines, without notice.”

Legal notice: site owners should carefully manage what personal data they collect and store. Site owners are responsible for their site’s compliance with the data protection regulation.

Definition of unsuitable content 

Specific privacy statement

Contact and support

Need further assistance on this topic? Please contact COMM Europa Management.

  • No labels

The Europa Web Guide is the official rulebook for the European Commission's web presence, covering editorial, legal, technical, visual and contractual aspects.
All European Commission web sites must observe the rules and guidelines it contains.
Web practitioners are invited to observe its contents and keep abreast of updates. More information about the web guide.