Protecting liberal discourse and values on the internet

Our culture, norms and values from the offline, real world oftentimes do not translate into the online world, which is by nature remote and lacks actual physical encounters. Online platforms provide a space in which individual opinions can be easily published and receive traction. This becomes problematic if these opinions are misleading or malicious, especially if combined with anonymity and social echo chambers of like-minded users. Ultimately, this misleading, manipulative and often false information can endanger markets and democracies. Currently, it is unclear who is responsible for the content on digital platforms, and its deletion when it is illegal. Originators cannot be prosecuted in many jurisdictions. The European Union presented encompassing legislation to tackle these problems: the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. Both laws regulate global platforms by addressing their transparency, accountability and responsibility. Besides a problem of responsibility for platform content and the need to hold platforms accountable to some extent, there is a deeper problem arising from the non-transparent and non-accountable collection and usage of user data by the platforms. This session discusses new approaches to regulate platforms and online content, as well data privacy, so that culture and values can also be adequately protected on the internet.

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