In today’s podcast, Lucinda Creighton was joined by CEP Senior Adviser Alexander Ritzmann to discuss internet regulation and extremist content online while particularly focussing on the DSA. Alexander Ritzmann advises the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Berlin on internet regulation, including the NetzDG, Artificial Intelligence/Transparency, and the EU Digital Services Act as well as on the effective countering of extremist/terrorist actors and content online.
Some key points:
- If content moderation remains this bad, “free speech” is limited to bullies/haters/extremists. Who wants to share thoughts/feelings in „public“ if you are threatened/harassed without support/protection by companies who built/profit from the “scene of the crime“?
- Yes, we need safe virtual public spaces for freedom of expression in the EU. But it is a terrible idea to leave public discourse in the hands and interests of US for-profit market dominating companies who sell the access to their users´s data.
- Leaving Big Tech in charge of EU public discourse would be like asking McDonalds/Burgerking to take over school canteens/to feed our children. Bad idea, because those companies don´t have the health of their „users“ as top priority. And neither have Big Tech/social media.
- How to fix this? A) Big Tech gets mandated/regulated to provide „healthy“services and then needs to get payed for this because this is incompatible with their business model of maximizing/manipulating user data and then selling access to third parties.
- B) Alternatively, the limited liability privilege (LLP) needs to be removed. It allows social media to operate/profit without being responsible for their actions. LLP was designed to help startups in the 1990s to grow, now it protects the wealthiest companies on the planet
- In all other industries, the risk of liability and fines for illegal/harmful/negligent behavior is a key component to incentivise compliance with regulations and to punish toxic products/behaviour. Time to treat Big Tech like we treat Big Oil, Big Tabaco, Big Pharma etc.
- Interested in more details? Check out the podcast above and these CEP policy papers