jueves, 2 de noviembre de 2017

Again, the EU laissez-faire approach about digital platforms

Some weeks ago, the European Commission presented its communication "Tackling illegal content", that was previously announced by the Commission´s President in its letter of intent published jointly with his speech on the State of the Union. The communication was the first step for a proactive prevention, detection and removal of illegal content inciting hatred, violence and terrorism online. All the strategy rest on a call on online platforms to further boost their efforts to prevent the spread of illegal content.

As a critical action for fighting illegal content, the European Commission considers that strengthening the collaboration between platforms and trusted flaggers is a needed complement of the usage of automatic tools. As there are several failures on the side of the usage of automatic tools for tagging content (e.g the case about how Google clasified black people as gorillas), some people began desesperately the meaning on what is a "trusted flagger". The relative unawareness about the term "trusted flagger" is reflected on the story of searches for the term on Google.  Few look-ups about "trusted flaggers" were made previously to May 2017.

Trusted flaggers are defined by the European Commission as "specialised entities with expert knowledge on what constitutes illegal content". The search for the interest on the issue on Google Trends reflects also that the geographic area where users are most concerned of this kind of providers is Indonesia. Without any doubt, this interest could be caused to the high-profile of the programme for the development of trsuted flaggers agreed between Google and the Indonesian government. Few more information of this kind of service providers are on the network, except some echoes of the discomfort with the YouTube´ trusted flagger program in USA and the UK

As the European Commission position on tackling illegal content rests on outsourcing the enforcement to platforms instead of developing a full regulation on the issue, the faith on the work of trusted flaggers looks the introduction of a new delegation of the liability of the fight against illegal content on the internet. The hope that the extension of the chain of liability with a new link will help, looks as an escapism about tackling the problem. The impression is reinforced with the scarce number of success cases of trusted flaggers programs.

The Commission´s approach may end again with a failure of self-regulatory tools, as what have happened previously with the issue of anti-competitiveness practices developed by online platforms, where the European commission has recognised recently the need to develop some regulatory instruments after rejecting this approach for years. It that is the case, some questions about the responsibilities for this laissez-faire approach on digital issues will be raised by several stakeholders.


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