IGF 2021 – Day 0 – HIGH LEVEL EXCHANGE PANEL: Creating sustainable value and inclusive society – the role of digital platforms

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, good afternoon, everybody.  So we're here today to discuss digital inclusion and role of digital platforms.  Our panelists will have paths to conceive new, hopefully concrete ways to keep fintech, eCommerce, social network platforms, and thus government and corporations accountable and transparent for a free and safe cyberspace.

We have many panelists today, we are ten people, we can talk a few minutes each.  Please respect the time.

I want to tell the audience that we will be with Simonetta Sommaruga, Head of the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication.

With Mr. Roberto Viola, Director‑General of Directorate General for Communication, Network, Content and Technology of the European Commission.

Michelle Bachelet Jeria, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a special representative of the Secretary‑General on violence against children. 

We have Qu Dongyu, Director‑General, FAO and chief economist of the FAO.

Also I welcome Mr. Tawfik Jelassi ‑‑ I hope I pronounced well your name ‑‑ Assistant Director‑General for Communication and Information from UNESCO.

We will have with us Mr. Josh Kallmer, head of Global Public Policy at Zoom.

Also Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Canada 150 Research Chair, Simon Fraser University, a colleague of mine.

And Nighat Dad, board member Facebook Oversight Board.

So, why we have all these people here today at the IGF Poland which I thank for inviting me, remembering that I build a fuller responsibility for what I say, we are here because you, you and you over there.  All of us ‑‑ all of us ‑‑ deserve to live, work, study and play in a friendly and safe environment.  It is true for the web too, especially today because the pandemic forced us to live, study, play and work online.  When we work, study, live online, freedom of access to the Internet, Freedom of Expression, safety, security, privacy become digital rights.  Digital rights are Human Rights. 

Of course, when I think of Human Rights, my mind goes to the poorer refugees at the border freezing at the border of Poland, and I hope that my government, European Union and the United Nations will do very soon something to change this situation; but when I think of Human Rights violation, I also think of digital rights violation.  For example, my mind goes to a very young Egyptian student who has been imprisoned for 22 months just for posting something on Facebook, his opinion on Facebook.  My mind goes to Julian Assange, persecuted and tortured just for exposing war crimes.  It is not me saying this, it was the former UN representative for the Freedom of Expression, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression.

So, I think of Vinisha Umashankar, an Indian girl who was imprisoned not to let her go to the Glasgow Conference for being an online activist.  I think of all of this.

And I fear, a digital world where too often we see online harassment towards journalist women and when I realize the proportion of child abuse and human trafficking using online tools.

I know the pandemic has brought many countries to justify improper data collection using artificial intelligence‑based technologies, and that they use technology to restrict people's power to express themselves.  This must stop.  That's why we are here today.

So, before asking Mr. Roberto Viola, European Commission to give his introductory remarks, I want to underline that after establishing the first ever rules promoting fairness and transparency for business online platforms, European Commission proposed in December, 2020 new rules for digital platforms.  The digital service package composed of the Digital Service Act and the Digital Markets Act aims to create a safer digital space where the fundamental rights of users are protected and to establish a level playing field for business.

So, sorry for my bad English pronunciation, I'm Italian, as you can view.  It is not my mother tongue language.  I hope to make clear a few concepts. 

Now it is time to give the floor to Mr. Roberto Viola.  Please, you can speak.

>> ROBERTO VIOLA: Thank you very much.  I hope you can see and hear me.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: I can see you clearly, Roberto Viola.  It is a pleasure to meet you in this venue.

>> ROBERTO VIOLA: Thank you very much for inviting me.

It is really an important panel discussing how the world should be.  I hope that in the fairytale of Internet, what they will say ten years from now, they would say once upon a time there was no democracy of Internet and few would rule and privately enforce the Internet.  Of course, this is something we don't want.

Our relentless effort is to bring democracy into the Internet space.  First of all, establishing solid principles by which whatever we do should be human centered and humans must be respected, their freedoms, their rights must be respected.  That's the meaning of our digital decade.  We need to lend Europe, 2030 and the partners of Europe in a democratic free space that takes the maximum benefit of Internet.

Now, of course, it is not just words, we are presenting solid underpinning legislation action programs in order to fulfill this vision of the Internet in the future.

I want to tell you, one week ago a new law has been approved in Europe, which is called the Data Governance Act.  The Data Governance Act for the first time will create a public and accountable governance of data spaces.  It will introduce the concept of ‑‑ maximum reuse of public data, not just open data, every data, the access to entrepreneurs, businesses, start‑ups to that data, will introduce the concept of citizens in control and deciding on data donation, when they want to donate data and how they want to and selecting the organizations that will be screened for data donation and will introduce data brokering as a new way to allow participants of a data space to share the data.  This is the Data Governance Act.

You mentioned, Mr. Chairman, the Digital Service Act, the Digital Market Act, which are two pillars of our platform regulation and I would be ‑‑ also the Artificial Intelligence Act, that's first of a kind legislation in the world, trying to comprehensively regulate the space in order to have more democracy in the Internet. 

The Digital Service Act, it is about looking at the platforms offering services to citizens and businesses and to make sure that above all rules are respected by everybody, citizens are empowered in terms of their right, that large marketplaces have responsibility and also whoever offers a number of platforms service, search engine, social media, they have a responsibility.

An important part of this, proportionately.  The more the platform is important in economic and use of terms, the more responsibilities, and the more accountable.  Key elements are transparency, access to data for researchers, for NGOs, for organizations that can actually make those publicly accountable, oversight and also risk assessment, risk assessment that needs to be done by independent organization to make sure that recommended systems and algorithms do not amplify just the money making part of platform but really delivering services or the platforms which are platform offering marketplaces, it is the concept of know your customer, know your business customer, which is from the financial markets to make sure that whoever offers goods on sale on those platforms is a trusted partner.

The Digital Market Act is about power and balance, market power and balance.  It makes sure that the platforms which the act is gate keepers because they're essential trading partners for small business and they offer in a fairway their services to other businesses.  In particular, the data ‑‑ privilege owned services above the privileges of other business partner, they actually make sure that everyone can profit and benefit from the platform affected and the overall organization of the platform allows for fairness diversity and innovation.  That's the most important thing as well.

Democracy goes also with capacity building to innovate, to participate. 

I finish my intervention briefly:  The Artificial Intelligence Act, the first regulation in the world about artificial intelligence tries to say it is a gift to artificial intelligence but has to be used for the mankind, for the citizens, for making sure it delivers goods.  That means we take risk‑based approach and we first of all ban whatever is generalized control of citizen, which will be forbidden in E.U., but also we consider application of limiting the citizen risk based application, they hey need to be regulated.  The rest of artificial intelligence does not need to be regulated and cannot result from the normal regulation.  This is a sample of what we're doing.  We also of course continue to invest in Internet and Internet innovation and the Next Generation Internet program as 500 million available to start‑up new ‑‑ I mean, organizations, public research organizations to improve data.

This is our continued effort.  We thank you for inviting me to express our views and to contribute to this panel.

Thank you very much.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Roberto Viola.  I know that you must leave the session, but if you can, please stay with us.  Thank you so much.

Now I want to introduce you to Director‑General Qu Dongyu of FAO, who will address his remarks to the audience. 

Please, Mr. Qu Dongyu. 

>> MAXIMO JORERO CULLEN:  Dear sir, I'm sorry, I will have to present on behalf of Dr. Qu Dongyu.  He had an emergency and had to leave.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Tell your name and change the subtitles, please.  What is your name?

>> MAXIMO TORERO CULLEN:  Maximo Torero.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO:  You are good enough too. 

Go ahead.

>> MAXIMO TORERO CULLEN: Thank you very much. 

Digital technologies are having a profound impact on economies and lives and livelihood, they are effecting markets accelerated by the COVID pandemic and connectivity has improved significantly, but a digital divide remains.  The Broadband Commission has estimated that an investment between 428 billion and $2 trillion is needed to achieve universal connectivity by 2030.  We must work collectively to leverage the technologies for our cultural and rural transformation and the Internet Governance Forum represents a unique location to reflects on how the power of data and technology can be harnessed to reduce the digital divide leaving no one behind.  This requires renewed efforts to improve domestic policies and to strengthen international cooperation to ensure increased and targeted investments.

The platforms help unleashing potential for fintech solutions, trade, systems and emergency and humanitarian interventions and sustainability.  FAO, we're constantly working to find ways of innovation, data and technology to accelerate the transformation of the digital agri‑food systems to the achievements of the SDGs.  Effective use of the digital technologies and platforms raise economic benefits and inclusiveness to contribute to the rural development and food security, increasing the productivity of the agri‑food sector, enhancing market opportunities through eCommerce and facilitating the inclusion of farmers in value chains.  The potential of the culture ranges from realtime climate information, extension networks and blockchain ledgers to build trust and increase food safety.

It can also include financial products for small holders to create products and eCommerce, which leverages market linkages shortens the food value chain and strengthens business engagements and intelligence systems and promotes market access.

In this perspective, we're launching the 1,000 village initiative to promote the Digital Transformation of villages and small towns across the globe and enable farmers to use digital technologies.  There is an initiative that's been developed by FAO and been implemented in all of the regions where FAO works.

The initiative consists in the reutilization of the agri‑food production management, consumption for rural transformation that can create and enhance the opportunities.  It also has social and cultural benefits to increase communication and information to improve the living standards in rural areas.  In July, 2020FAO launched a special platform, the digital public good to create interactive data maps, analyze trends and identify realtime gaps and opportunities.  This platform enables the mapping of agriculture capabilities, highlighting the interactions of economic, social and environmental valuables to direct targeted and impactful investments.  In addition, FAO international platform for digital food and agriculture is a platform for dialogue, policymaking and for strengthening the linkages between agriculture and the regional economic forum.  FAO is committed to continue working in partnerships for transformation of a more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable food assistance for better production, better nutrition, better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.

To achieve this, the digital technologies will provide the connection to bridge the gaps, and for that we need to ensure that the technologies are inclusive and to provide access for all.

Thank you very much.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you very much to you, Mr. Torero, after the introductory remark, I have to say my name.  My name is Arturo Di Corinto, I am an Italian journalist, I'm a book writer, a teacher in the University.

Well, my job, it is to check and verify what you say.  So I ask you to be coherent with what you say.

Well, I have a panelist who is Mr. Abed Aziz Dahi, who was not connected earlier.  Now he's online. 

I thank you for being with us, Minister.  You have 2 minutes, please.  The floor is yours.

>> ABED AZIZ DAHI: Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to participate in this very interesting panel.

I would like to just remind that the 2030 United Nation Agenda for Sustainable Development highlighted the importance of an inclusive, sustainable society.  I assume that a sustainable, inclusive society has to be fundamentally human‑centric in order to address the big question of Sustainable Development, requiring an integrated approach based on the number of diversity and challenges like protecting our environment and ensuring universal access for everyone to fundamental services like health, education, et cetera, and realizing the Human Rights and protection to all.

Technological platform cans play a central role to the so‑called society.  In my country, Mauritania, despite the scarcity of resources, our authorities see that digital technology has been a real lever for social and economic development, improving the performance of public service in terms of transparency and access to data, for example.  That's why our government has started preparing digitalization since 2016 by putting in place framework for digital governance, like a law, for example, in 2016 that sets the fundamental orientations of the Information Society and data mines the legal and institutional basis, defining Information Society as a society with human‑inclusive, secured dimensions which works for the formalization of the state and the fight against poverty and developments of individuals and companies.

In 2017 a law on personal data protection has set up a framework for the processing of this data in order to offer better services and protect against breaches of privacy which caused through the use of Internet Protocol, it lays down conditions under which any processing of personal data in any form whatever respects the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. 

This law launched also the Personal Data Protection Authority.  In 2018 the law organized electronic transactions and services and challenges the responsibilities of providers, site hosting, data services as well as publishers of electronic content.  In terms of Internet Governance, the digital department with the help of our partners, organized practical trainings that allow the various representatives of the ministers and departments, academia, private sector, Civil Society to better prepare for the transition ‑‑

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you.

Please go to the conclusions.

>> ABED AZIZ DAHI: I want to ‑‑ this is a ‑‑ this is a nice opportunity that can help developing countries to be more inclusive and more ‑‑ yes, more equitable in terms of the Internet.

Thank you very much.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you, Mr. Abed Aziz Dahi, Minister of Digital Transition and Modernization of Administration.

Thank you very much.

Now I have a special guest, she is Mrs. Najat Maalla M'Jid.  Why a special guest?  Because this is the special representative of the Secretary‑General on violence against children, something that worries many of us.

Please, you have the floor.

>> NAJAT MAALLA M'JID: Many thanks, Arturo.

I just want to highlight with you some many key points.

On 2008 I was Special Rapporteur on sale of children and child sexual exploitation.  And I can tell you, since 2008 it seems I'm repeating the same thing. I want to really highlight the point, how we can make digital platform contributing, you know, in inclusive, safe space for children.

It has not only to be Human Rights‑centric but child right‑centric.  This is very important.  Taking into account the key dimension of protection of access, just and inclusive access of Freedom of Expression and also privacy and the access, first, if you need to be very inclusive, we need to close first the digital divide that affects two‑thirds of the world school age children according to and UNICEF, exacerbated during the pandemic.

Regarding rights to expression, yes, many children are really expressing themselves through platforms and we need to make sure that all of them can express freely, safely, you know, through the platform and to highlight also the risk that we're seeing worldwide regarding the arrests of children and deprivation of liberty of children who express themselves regarding requesting social justice for others.

The other point, privacy and data.  Despite many laws, really the right to privacy and data protection of children is not dually implemented by all of the Internet Protocol sector.  Finally, finally, protection, it is a big, big, big issue.  To achieve, children are exposed to various forms of violence online, one of the many important one, child sexual abuse material online. 

To let you know, the recent We Protect Assessment highlights an increasing report of child sexual abuse, there was a report of 100% increase from the public of online exploitation, and the Internet Watch Foundation reported 77% increase in child sex generated sexual material from 2019 to 2020 and the Economic Report was that 54% of children were exposed to harmful content, to sexual abuse material in their own mobile phone.  This is increasing and still unreported and unprosecuted.  Despite all of this legislation, despite all of the commitment of ICTs, and despite also the implementation of some tools really to detect, to remove, like matching, photo DNA, deterrents and the big alliance, virtual global taskforce coalition and so on, there is still a lot to do because laws are not going so quickly as, you know this sector is going. 

We are seeing other challenges, like live streaming, that it has increased and self‑generated images produced by children that currently also are commercialized.  This is big issue. 

You have all of the wonderful, you know, use of an anonymity by predator using Dark Net and we have a recent assessment, the increased use of Dark Net really highlighted currently 300%. 

We have also what is really important, other forms of violence online that we need to take into account, it is also cyberbullying, it is also hate speech, misinformation, also recruitment for illegal activities.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you.  Thank you.

Thank you, Mrs. Najat Maalla M'Jid, for what you said.  Maybe we can continue the discussion after the other panelists maybe.

Please, just simple thing, to something that we can do together to stop this inhuman trafficking.

So Mr. Tawfik Jelassi, Assistant Director‑General for communication and information, UNESCO.  You have the floor, you can talk for 2 minutes.

>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you very much.

I hope you can hear me.

So we all agree on the danger of digital platforms spreading, the lady just mentioned, you know, a message of hate, of violence, of terrorism, and this has been increasing, the info-demic.  The question is, how do we respond to these challenges?  In our view in UNESCO, there are three ways forward: 

Obviously the traditional option, it is laissez‑faire.  We cannot afford that what you're likely to see, increased spread of misinformation and the like.  This is not good.

The other option, which some Member States or some countries have done, which is to regulate online content.  We see the danger in that.  Overregulation could limit the Freedom of Expression and that's not good for democracy, not for Human Rights.

The question is then, is there a third option that you can consider?  We believe so, and that third option is by trying to make the Internet companies go for greater transparency.  When we say that, of course, we need to work on details, transparency of what?  How much?  To whom?  And for what expected outcomes?  I think we collectively need to work on that.

So today, of course, one emerging technology that's been more widely used is AI.  Last month at UNESCO, the 193 Member States have adopted the UNESCO recommendation on the ethics of artificial intelligence.  We believe this is groundbreaking, normative instrument, the first of its kind to ensure that we have a Human Rights based ethical, open, accessible and truly multistakeholder approach to digital technologies and to digital platforms.

So we need also, obviously, to build capacity.  When it comes to this, we have been training civil servants, but also with the focus on the judiciary system we have trained more than 23,000 judiciary operators in a number of countries on standards, national, but international standards on Human Rights, on Freedom of Expression on the safety of journalist, et cetera.  We just developed recently an online course on AI and the rule of law.  I think all of this could help us achieve our goal, the goal being to mitigate the risk involved here, to foster the exchange and apply a Human Rights based approach to digital governance, but also to harness all of the potential benefits that these technologies can present to us.  We see value creation and Digital Transformation through digital technologies, digital platforms can contribute to that, but you have to make sure that we can eliminate or at least reduce the harm that digital platforms can cause.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you.  Thank you so much.  You have been very clear.  Thank you for what you said.

So now it is time to speak for Mrs. Josh Kallmer, head of global public policy in Zoom.  Please, you have the floor for 2 minutes.

>> JOSH KALLMER: Thank you, Mr. Arturo Di Corinto, it is great to be here.  I think as the lone member of a technology company, it is a privilege.  We recognize that we and other technology companies have a significant responsibility to contribute to these discussions.

I think in our experience there are three key factors and they begin with the letter T in ensuring we're working together in the most effective way to enhance inclusion, to enhance safety and to tackle these challenges.

The first is trust.  Right.  The technology companies have to have the tools, they have to have the attitude, they have to have the ability to create trust.  That means looking out for data protection, that means ensuring that peoples' data are safe in, our case, it makes ‑‑ it means making sure that users of our platform have the tools to control their interactions with each other, to ensure not only that they have a place where they can connect, but that they can do it on their terms in ways that protect people including from places where voices may be suppressed.

The second is transparency, a couple of my colleagues mentioned this as well.  Companies need to be transparent about what they do, about how they approach content on the platforms that is illegal, abusive, harmful, whatever the case may be, we take that incredibly seriously.  When it comes to community standards, when it comes to reporting mechanism, when it comes to transparency reports, and it comes with government, stakeholder group, transparency is key, the final factor is tailoring, no company is the same, Zoom is a communications platform, it is very different than a social media firm, we all have responsibilities and so it is incumbent upon all of us in, a multistakeholder environment to work together to understand what is the proper mix of rights and obligations and uses of technology that are appropriate and properly tailored for each actor in the ecosystem to ensure that we all are contributing the way that is effective as possible.

Thank you again.  Appreciate the chance to be here.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: So thank you.  Thank you so much, thank you so much, Mr. Josh Kallmer.

So something is happening here.

I ask the technical staff to let these guys to show their flags.  I mean, they are very youngsters here, they are young boys and girls who want to make a statement and I think that they can allow them to do the statement.

I mean, it is so easy, no.

We are here to support Freedom of Expression.

What do you want to say?  What do you want to say?

>> We are here to protest.  We are here to protest because we don't feel seen, we don't feel free or safe.  Our freedom is limited by business and big corporations, freedoms means protecting user privacy, freedom means worker rights for platform workers, but we do not feel safe as Internet users and employees.

10 million people get main source of income from the so‑called gate economy, millions of workers are denied rights, protections and quarantines, online platform, deny them regular work contrasts even though they exercise control over labor.  We have here representatives of all groups in the European Parliament, but there is still no specific directive protecting workers at European level.  Courts across Europe acknowledge that platforms are employers and platform workers are employees.

We are calling you, take care of it.  Our voice, our speech should be heard.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you.  Thank you.

Is everything okay?  Is everything okay?  That's all they have.

Just I ask you to start with the camera, please.  I don't see the camera.  I don't see us in the camera.

I want to see us on the screens, please.

Please.  I'm a journalist.  I can be very bad.

>> (Yelling from audience).

>> Hello.  I'm Casper.  What I want to say is we demand the reform from online advertising industry systems, violence advertising, AIB Europe created effect ‑‑

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Hey.  Hey.  Hey.  Hey.  It is okay.  It is okay.

>> (Multiple voices).

>> ‑‑ no purpose other than to extract the data from user.  Google and the entire trucking industry relies on the system which will now be found illegal.  Pop‑ups are used by about 80% of the websites, nobody reads it.  They are designed to force users to automatically click agree.  Due to GDPR, it is illegal. 

Ban pop‑ups.  Internet is the common space for all users.  We demand the protection authority to force online advertisement, to reform.  This amplifies hate, illegal activities, hoaxes and enhances the polarization. 

The overarching theme of the forum is Internet United.  So reunite the Internet, but for the user, not for the big companies.  I know that there are representatives on ‑‑ in this hall, they have made the break of the GDPR.  We know you're here.  We know that you know that what I just asked you is true.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Okay.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.


>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you for ‑‑ thank you.

Sorry for the little interruption.

I think it is important to make the voice of the youth to be heard.

We are here for this.

My last but not least important, less important panelist, it is Mrs.‑‑ no.  I'm sorry.  It is Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Canada 150 Research Chair and Simon Fraser University. 

You have the floor.

>> WENDY HUI KYONG CHUN: Thank you so much.  Thank you for lending the ‑‑ letting the groups in the audience speak. 

What I want to stress, as many of us here have stressed is that we need to engage Civil Society and groups that have been historically excluded and it is only by engaging these groups by us that we can understand how technology and so‑called technical solutions in equality, sometimes they amplify inequality.

I think the classic example of this is content moderation.  Automated content moderation systems were introduced because minorities are regularly targeted online.  The problem is, that these systems often target the same group.  The classic example of this is Black English.  So those who speak Black English are not only targeted by racists, but also the speech is also targeted by these systems.  Activists and citizens who often take on the questions of racism are taken down.  This is not a new thing.  One of the first groups to be censored online were actually LGBTQ+ activists who were taking on the question of AIDS.

This is because of the standards which are embedded within the systems that are trained on the systems, and as well as how the systems are weaponized, how the flanking systems are often weaponized.  A classic example, our risk assessment programs, and they were introduced to combat racism within U.S. courts and they have been most recently sued for racial discrimination.  Again, what's key, it is that we work with communities we're trying to support as well as with Civil Society, to understand what these groups are doing, what they need, and also to understand how the root causes of the inequalities go beyond technology and technical solutions. 

One thing that the public policy forum is doing, and I'm a commissioner for the democratic expression as part of this group, they have brought together a diverse group of citizens from all over Canada to take on these issues.  What's key, is that the recommendations which will come out in January focus not only on regulation, but also questions of education and research.  Clearly research is key.  We can't rely on whistleblowers to do our research for us. 

Importantly, European legislation seeks to guarantee access to atomized data for researchers.  I stress this access, transparency is important, but not enough.  Giving researchers access to what private corporations track is not enough.

We need to think through privacy and democratic expression together.  We need to think through when programs such as AI should be used and when it should not.

So any definition of sustainable value and inclusive society can't just focus on content but also infrastructure.

Thank you.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you, Mrs. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun.  For what it counts, I agree with the most part of your speech.

Nighat Dad, board member, Facebook Oversight Board, a welcome panelist. 

You have the floor for 2 minutes.

>> NIGHAT DAD: Thank you for having me. 

As an activist the Global South, I really admire and appreciate your effort to give the floor to the young voices who have raised very, very well points.

As an oversight board member I want to talk a little bit about what we as a board are doing and how we're contributing to the question that you have posed around, you know, creating inclusive societies.  By saying I'm really proud to be a part of a group of people from around the world with equal decision making responsibilities.  We speak 29 languages and represent diverse professional, cultural, political, religious backgrounds and viewpoints.

We all believe strongly in Freedom of Expression and this is our starting point for assessing decisions.  We look at Freedom of Expression in the balance of other Human Rights.  We make decisions that consider the Human Rights impacts for the global user base.  I believe through this model we're looking closely at how upholding a user right to Freedom of Expression may impact on the right of others in other contexts so that rules can be consistent, fair and do not fix one problem in one place whilst creating multiple others somewhere else.  I personally as a board member ‑‑ and I can speak on behalf of other board members ‑‑ we care deeply about the unintended impact content moderation decisions one country has on users in another, especially those whose Freedom of Expression is compromised already. 

It is essential to recognize many content moderation issues we are discussing today echo the experiences Civil Society organizations and people living in South Asia, Global South, indeed the rest of the world have been saying for years.  We really need to stop having such a U.S ./Euro‑centric view of the problems, happening on social media and to listen to voices from around the world.  

We scrutinized Facebook decisions based on their stated values, their own rules in the community standards, and ultimately whether they align with global Human Rights standards.  I really believe the need for independent and global oversight which is not led by one nation, or another, but truly considers the global impact of the decisions will continue.  I would really like to see all of us to work together, to empower rather than protect users and not only speak for them but to them and with them.

Thank you.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: So thank you to you.  It has been a pleasure to listen to your point of view.

Now I have a last‑minute speaker, there is someone who is asking me to say something ‑‑ no.  It is okay.

So thank you for everything.

We have 15 minutes left.

What can I say?  I would like you to go back on the floor and to advertise publicly something concrete that you are doing to promote children protection, Freedom of Expression, data protection and so on.

You know, I have ‑‑ I'm still listening to the words of Francis Olgen in front of congressmen in the United States about the social network business model which are not made for exactly Freedom of Expression and for empowering people's rights.  I would like to know something more from you.

Mrs. Najat Maalla M'Jid, do you want to say something more about this issue?  About the business models, social platforms, social network platforms?


I think we really encourage more things coming out with the faulty structure of the social media platforms.  I would like to talk about what we have done as a board.  Since the board issued our first decisions in January we have already issued 17 decisions and made over 75 recommendations to Facebook on issues that are critical to Freedom of Expression and Human Rights for users around the world.  Getting a company of mega scale to fix the numerous problems with the moderation processes, it is going to take time and it is something that we can't do on our own.  We have a pretty specific focus as an organization between all that we're aware of.  We think we're starting to have a valuable impact in pushing the company in the right direction and it is a good sign that the company has accepted most of our recommendations.

Anyone who thinks that the board can fix Facebook on its own is diluting themselves.  Certainly we have never set out with that intention.  We are trying to play a small constructive role in fighting for the interests of users and pushing the company to be more transparent.  Yeah.

I believe this is the model that I have seen.  It's actually working.  It will take time, it started as an experience and I feel that the self‑regulatory mechanisms are really important while we're talking about regulations that are basically setting the standards for the rest of the world.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you.  Thank you very much, Mrs. Nighat Dad. 

To be honest, I canceled my Facebook profile and I don't use WhatsApp and am experimenting with Instagram, even if they say it doesn't help a good self‑perception in young women.

Mrs. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, we have something to add to this question, this theme, this issue?

>> WENDY HUI KYONG CHUN: It is key to work with communities and to really try to understand exactly how they are already using the technologies to take on some of these issues.

We need to think as well critically about what's not working.  In terms of the question of disinformation for example, we know that fact checking is important, but it is not enough.  We know for instance that people will spread information because they find it compelling, et cetera, we need to think through I think questions of the business model, what's accelerated and what is not and try to think through how those issues of trust are central and perpetuated within platforms themselves.

I think we need to think critically about the ways.  The solutions we have imposed haven't worked and rather than keeping ‑‑ to offer the same solutions, to think actually very hard about why it is that for instance calls for authenticity led to the spread of more disinformation rather than less.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Okay.  Thank you.

Thank you.

So before going to Mr. Tawfik Jelassi and Mr. Josh Kallmer, I want the technical staff to screen and to send on the screen a video message by Michelle Bachelet Jeria, please.

>> MICHELLE BACHELET JERIA: Dear colleagues, it is a pleasure to join this panel. 

Every day across continents billions of people use digital communication platforms for multitude of purposes from allowing the news to finding work opportunities, to organizing social campaigns, to getting health information to seeking entertainment.  These are platforms that are essential to the global online space that's vibrant, safe and open where diverse use can be.  We face enormous decisions in making this a reality.

I'll begin with the basics:  First, foremost, today, among half of the world's population are still virtually offline.  Rural areas and developing countries as well as those experiencing poverty face acute connectivity challenge, women, girls, marginalized groups make up the majority of the unconnected people in the world.  The mending connectivity gap is central to leaving no one behind.  To make things worse, governments are increasingly resulting to Internet shutdowns for protests and influencing elections and hiding abuses.  There is no other way of putting this.  The Internet shutdowns are in front of Human Rights.  They cutoff people's access to reliable information, the connection to family and friends undermine the businesses, blocking health services to name just a few of the serious impacts.

If we are to create inclusive societies, platforms, they will have to play a fundamental role, facing the hostilities that we find offline.

Violent terrorist propaganda, incitement to hatred, tread, disinformation campaigns are spread digital I didn't, hosted by other amplifications, and women, minority, other vulnerable groups are at higher risk of experiencing online violence and hatred.  While platforms can be amazing facilitators of communications and business and work opportunity, they turn very easily into gate keepers dominating markets and controlling how people exercise their rights.  At the same time, many platforms are built on a systematic abuse of the right to privacy.

The scale in which companies are storing and analyzing information about Internet users is almost unimaginable.  This intrusive practice enables abuse such as targeted disinformation campaigns and data‑driven discrimination.  It is also a treasure trove for government agencies, both used for legitimate purposes and for the surveillance of dissenters, minorities, others.

In addition, platforms operations often lack transparency, it is difficult at times even impossible for users to have a clear picture of how decisions about online contents are made.  This ranges, for example, from why some posts are promoted or deleted or whether public authorities have been involved in content decisions.  Recently states have increased their efforts to regulate platforms.  Some social media laws have been adopted worldwide in the last two years, and another 30 are under consideration.  Many of them have features that groups Human Rights at risk by applying overly built definitions of unlawful, harmful content or by giving a state officials block powers to vulnerable content, often without independent judicial oversight and the new way of regulation is fragmenting the online space.  Responses to any of the challenges that I just sketched out must have one social purpose, to make the digital space more diverse and accessible, open and safe for all.

Sustainable, effective responsibility good Human Rights should be front and center enabling people to communicate regardless of frontiers, as article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights puts it.  Dear colleagues, platforms growing are role in shaping the digital world requires safeguards for Human Rights, including regulation with impact, often with offline repercussion cans not otherwise be prevented or mitigated.  At the same time, we need to avoid giving states new opportunities to control people's Freedom of Expression and regulation could consolidate deeply undemocratic, discriminatory approaches that could feed oppression.  We need to enhance and demand transparency and accountability of the decision making, both from companies and states.  We need more open, transparent, multistakeholder discussions on how to regulate speech online and to protect privacy which is why I very much welcome this.

I look forward to hearing the outcome of your discussions.

Thank you for your attention.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you.  Thank you very much to Michelle Bachelet Jeria, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  We are very close to her job.

Now I want to see the video message by Simonetta Sommaruga.  Please.

>> SIMONETTA SOMMARUGA: Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, digital platforms can be beneficial in many ways.  They facilitate the finding of information and allow us to actively participate in public debates.

They have increased diversity and opinions, as such they contribute to Freedom of Expression.  At the same time, digital platforms can have negative impacts, notably when it comes to hate speech and disinformation.  Algorithms increasingly determine what we read and what we don't even see.  This narrows our reality.  We must also think about the long‑term effects on our democratic societies, especially as young people inform themselves mostly through digital platforms.  A functioning democracy needs a strong pluralistic and independent media ecosystem.  Without a functioning media, there is no meaningful debate.  Digital platforms have their responsibilities in ensuring a functioning public communication, they should take transparent steps in the development and enforcement of community standards, also they should put in place mechanisms for reporting and access to redress. 

Digitalization is not just transforming public communication, it brings opportunities and all sectors of our societies, like health, transport, education, and energy.  We need to make sure that people keep control over their data.  In Switzerland, we have been looking at this issue and we will discuss it at the Swiss Open Forum on Digital Self‑Determination tomorrow.  The Internet is not a Lawless space.  We need to maintain trust, encourage cooperation and develop governance principles to preserve a free, secure and democratic digital space.

All people in the world should benefit from digital opportunities.  The IGF provides a great platform for open and equal discussion among all stakeholders on Internet Governance, including the governance of digital platforms.  I would like to thank the government of Poland for hosting the IGF 2021. 

Let me also commend the UN Secretary‑General for his decision to set up a leadership panel, this is a great opportunity for the IGF to become more relevant and impactful.  Also, we see the IGF well placed to contribute to the development of a Global Digital Compact as suggested by the UN SG in his common agenda.  Be assured, Switzerland will continue to politically and financially support the IGF and wants global community as an inclusive and effective digital cooperation platform.

Thank you.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you so much.

Josh Kallmer, 30 seconds, what do you want to add?

>> JOSH KALLMER: I'll add how important it is especially for companies to engage and to subject themselves to scrutiny and to answer difficult questions and also to be a part of the solution which is why we have worked ‑‑ recognizing our company is a little bit different than a lot that are the subject of the discussion.  We have worked with Global Network Initiative, with We Protect, with the Global Internet Forum to Counterterrorism, these are mechanisms that are all just so important for us to get better, to be in communication with the entire universe of stakeholders that matters on these issues.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you.

Keep safe our data!

>> JOSH KALLMER: Absolutely.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: So 30 seconds, do you want to add something?  I don't see him on the screen, maybe ‑‑ 30 seconds?

>> MAXIMO TORERO CULLEN:  Transparency, inclusion, impartiality, reliability, security and privacy of the information, that's a technical institute, we want to use the platforms to share Best Practices so that farmer cans have access to them and that we need to keep the principles on board.

Thank you.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Your fight against fake news, it is our fight.

I hope that we meet again to talk about blockchain and crypto currencies for the agricultural world.


Mr. Tawfik Jelassi, your last word for the panel?

>> TAWFIK JELASSI: Thank you very much.

I talked earlier about the needs to go for transparency and I'm glad that a number of panelists have also echoed that.  I would like to here be pragmatic saying a few months ago UNESCO published a major report suggesting 26 high‑level indicators to enhance the transparency of Internet companies and here to be more specific, these 26 high‑level principles span across issues related to content, to process, to due diligence, to personal data gathering and use.  I invite you maybe to consult.  This is a contribution to the debate, obviously.  And in this IGF, UNESCO runs nine sessions, some of which addressing these issue, I would like to share what you have done and engage in consultations.  Together we can make it happen.

>> ARTURO DI CORINTO: Thank you.  Thank you very much. 

Thank you for having been with us.  Have a good day!  Happy hacking!  IGF 2021!