IGF 2021 – Day 3 – WS #123 Trust Me, I am a Seller: Regulating Online Business Accounts

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.



>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Am I audible clearly?

>> ELNUR KARIMOV: They want to play the intro first.


>> We all live in the digital world, and all need it to be open and safe.

We all want to trust

>> And to be trusted.

>> We all despise control.

>> And desire freedom.

>> We are all united.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: I wrote in the chat you cannot hear me, now you can hear me.

>> ELNUR KARIMOV: Yes, yes.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Okay.  So good morning, good evening, everybody, depending on where you are, welcome to IGF online session, I would like to.

>> AZAD MAMMADLI: Guys, can you hear me.


>> AZAD MAMMADLI: I can't hear you, maybe I can end this video call and maybe come again, is that okay.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Yes, it's fine.


>> NARMIN ABILOVA: I still can continue, okay.  I'm Narmin Abilova, a practicing lawyer and board member of young lawyers network, and today I am serving ad your moderator, our online session, as you can see, will be on the topic of trust me, I'm a seller, regulating online business accounts.  That was organized by young lawyers network with the help of international team.  We will have an interactive discussion around three policy questions.  The first one, can you switch to the slide to the policy questions.

So the first one will be on how must the online business accounts on social media be regulated in the merging digital markets to ensure their reliability, prevent tax evasion and protect consumers from fraud.

Second one, what technical or legal measures have been or must be taken by social media companies and/or governments respective to ensure smooth operation of online business accounts without prejudice to personal data protection.  The last and the third one, what legal and other remedies are and must be available to compensate the damage to consumers by fake business accounts.

So around these questions, we will have an interesting and informative experts, so I would like to present our speakers.  The first speaker will be Azad Mammadli, an in‑house lawyer in hospitality industry and blogger on competition, consumer rights and public procurement law.

Our next speaker, Kathrin Morasch from Germany, she graduated with a law degree from the University of Constance and a law clerk at a District Court in Germany.

Our next speaker is Yawri Carr from Costa Rica, a master student and technical University of Munich.

Our last speaker is Shradha Pandey from India.  She is a law and policy student at the national University of India.  We will also have an online moderator.  Report rapporteur of the session, I want to give you the information about the structure of our session, on each policy question, two speakers will talk about the questions and answer your questions in the time available, but at the same time, we will have a conversation in the end in order to ask your questions, you can raise your hand function on Zoom, or if you have any internet problem, you can write down your questions.  Moving along to our session, please welcome Azad Mammadli and Kathrin Morasch, which they will have a discussion on the first policy question that I mentioned before, which is how must the online business accounts on social media be regulated in the merging digital markets to ensure reliability, prevent tax evasion and protect consumers from fraud.

So the first floor is Azad, yours.

>> AZAD MAMMADLI: Thank you, Narmin, hello all, first, I'd like to greet all session participants and all listeners and thank organizers for this opportunity for these potentially and hopefully fruitful discussion.

While it's not a secret that the rapid emergence of social network tools and the increasing market power of social media companies brought with themselves a couple of challenges as well.  Regulation is social media is one of those challenge, although it mainly comes up with regards to human rights issues, such as freedom of expression or right to privacy.  Regulation is also to protect consumers from fraud in transactions on social media, and as a ‑‑ I will try to focus today on the last part of this question, the protection of consumers, which is at the heart of law systems in the world.

First, let's start with this question, regulation or no regulation, that is  ‑‑ we are talking about how social media companies and online business accounts should be regulated.  Should they be regulated in the first place.  For ultra-liberals, social media companies, as well as the online businesses should not be regulated at all, or should not be regulated at least by state, but for other major views, they are supportive of some sort of regulation on social media companies.  I'll try to walk you through the solutions proposed for this regulation problem on social commerce.

First, I think we can talk about self‑regulation.  I think if applied sincerely and comprehensively by social media companies, self‑regulation is the best tool to deal with consumer rights violations, because with those social media companies would avoid unnecessary state intervention and plus, this would play a role of one‑stop shop for consumers as they wouldn't seek any additional external assistance in this case.

I think we can say that day by day, social media companies get more mature to tackle the consumer rights problems, but we can ‑‑ it's also easy to say that these efforts of social media companies, first to protect their users, social media provide verified accounts with badges or ticks, but we are still not fully able to differentiate between the sellers we can trust or we cannot trust.

Another example is the help pages of social media platforms.  They do provide detailed information about how to prevent fraud or other illegal activities on social media, but they offer little advice about how to get compensation if you fall victim of these kinds of illegal activities.

So I think social media companies can employ dedicated algorithms or machine learning technology more to raise red flags to detect these violating accounts, to block them, but also assuring them they can voice their valid objections as well.

I think all these show that self‑regulation in self, alone is not perfect, and should be complemented by some sort of external action or external control.  Which brings us to the enforcement by public authorities or private parties.

I say that the European Union is leading the way recently in enforcing consumer rights on social media, for example in 2018 the European Commission adopted a new package for consumers, provides more transparency online market plus and also on search results.  Also, it gives consumers some tools to enforce their rights and get compensation.  The direction of enforcement is cooperation and collaboration between all stakeholders on this matter, on social media matter, which include predominantly social media platforms and state authorities.  This requires many times this requires social media platforms, share information about users, about accounts and the violations that have taken place on their platforms with state authorities to make sure that the law enforcement activities are carried out effectively and swiftly and maybe fast track procedures.

We can say that this is already done with regards to social media activities that include hate speech or racism, so why not in the field of consumer rights protection?

you can see that social media companies act reluctantly when it comes to disclose such information.  And I think consumer associations can play a vital role in the protection of users rights, and I think they complete the triangle of cooperation between stakeholders and ‑‑ this state authorities and social media platforms.

But when we talk about cooperation, we shouldn't forget how much international cooperation and collaboration can offer to fight against violations of consumer rights online.  A better international network can bring authorities from all over the world to act against cross‑border consumer violations, online consumer violations and can reduce the bad effects of purely national laws or pure national interventions.  And simply can set a good example, good practice standards in fighting against this consumer rights violations.

Finally we face this question what happens if social media companies don't act in line with consumer protection law, then the regulation of liability comes into this scenario, but liability is different from one jurisdiction from another.  In the United States, this regime is more liberal, but in China, it's more restrictive.  In European Union, the e‑commerce directive determines a large block of exemptions from liability for illegal activities, but the court of justice of the European Union and other institutions of the union has narrowed this block very significantly, in a significant way.

For instance, in 2017 the European Commission required Google plus, Twitter and I think Facebook to comply with its consumer protection rules, and I'm quoting here, remove any fraud and scams appearing on their websites that could mislead consumers when you become aware of such practices.  I can see that my time is almost up, I tried to walk you through the solutions that are proposed for regulation question on social media, but you think that these solutions need to be applied jointly and not separately, and they should interlink between each other in some way to have a better efficiency level.  Thank you for your attention.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Now it's time to move to our next speaker, Kathrin Morasch.  The floor is yours.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: Thank you.  First maybe I want to add we actually had a plan to have a really nice state secretary from Germany here today, but unfortunately the election stuff happening in Germany, he couldn't make it.  I will try to give my best for you as well.  Maybe you're kind of lucky because it's not so bad because you will not be walked through all the German laws.

I will try to start with an example on the violating accounts.  Influencers on social media platforms and how they are violating.  Some rules because I think that's a really important point.  So an example I want to start is there has been in the middle of this year, there has been a case before the federal court of justice in Germany, and it went through different courts, and I think it started 2018 or something and was finished in the middle of this year, and specifically it was about influencers who, as influencers are doing, promoted their lifestyle and introduced products on their account, and then the German association for social competition, were kind of offended by some posts they did because they said it's unlawful advertisement and it's against the competition law, and they wanted an injunction and charged costs.

So what basically happened with one of those influencers, Katy Humors, maybe some of you know her, she's famous in German, a wife of a German soccer player, a couple known in a lot of different companies, not only Germany.  And so what she did was, she posted a picture with a stuffed animal, which are like her child is playing with, and she then led through several links and clicking to the manufacturer of this stuffed animal, but according to the court findings, she had not received any consideration for doing this, yeah?  So therefore she didn't have to label that it was an advertisement.  That was what the court explained in its ruling.

Of course, as you see, there was kind of a rule that she had the labeled obligations, you see that there is kind of a problem so the big question is, how can you protect consumers from differentiating between what is advertisement and what's not.  Is it advertisement only if you get money for it or is it also, you know, supporting the companies in such a way that people would buy their stuff even if you don't get money?  There's like a big problem within German laws, but of course the German laws are kind of adapted from Eu regulations and each member state adapts it in its own country.

What we have the Tillia media act, where you have the different laws on how you have to behave on social media platforms and we have competition law, and it's kind of difficult now to say which law is applied on those cases.  You have competition law because some companies say, hey, they do advertising on their platform, but they don't get money for it.  I can't afford or I don't have contact influencers, they do it for free for me, I have to pay them, then it's already advertising and for others, it's not, and it's difficult to see where the line on those points are, and what the Tillia Media Act is saying, only if you get consideration for it, then it's commercial and only then you have labeling obligations.

So we have a really big problem in this field and also what the court decided is really clear on any point of it.  You know, you can't get ‑‑ you really don't have a line for the influencers, but for companies who don't really know what you do know.  I do have to label it, don't I have to label it?  Which is commercial and which not?  It's kind of really difficult to understand for the industry when you are allowed to have tab tags and not.  It's really unclear, also, as I said from the competition perspective.

So, you know, like we had those cases for 2.5 years now and still it isn't really clear.  So the question is what do we learn from it?  I think there is a really important point where I would disagree with Azad because I don't think that self‑regulating is the best point of doing.  Maybe it's my kind of German sense, I think we are all about regulations, and I think that's really the best was to tackle this, because we know from a lot of different areas, and not only on social platforms or digital stuff, but on climate and whatever, that self‑regulation isn't working at all, or at least that's my point of view.  I think that the only thing that really helps is having really clear rules and not only have guidelines from platforms, but really, you know, really clear rules, not, of course the European Union is trying to have those rules within the European Union, but also to raise the point that we have to have those internationally, of course, that's the only way which it will work because it is kind of an international point.  As this isn't working out most of the time in the end because, for example, U.S.A. is really liberal and the European Union we want to have those more strict rules.  I think it's really difficult to apply this.  I think also the persons who are using the platforms have to look for themselves where they ‑‑ that they have to apply those laws for themselves, that not only those companies have to look out for it.

The company, like the social media platforms and influencers are like to check the laws and to go with them.  So I think that's it.  I would have more points, but I think we can go on now.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: You just finished in time.  We have also a little discussion in the chat, we have a comment from Jenna, she says that this is usually good point, only online influencers are really powerful in making people to do, believe in certain things and also wrote a response to her ‑‑ maybe you can check the chat.  If you have any questions from the audience, we can ‑‑ you can do it, you can use the raise hand function and you can ask your questions.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: I think the point you raised, that people are looking for the recommendations of the influencers and this can lead to destruct of consequences to the audience, but also to other persons, this is kind of what I wanted to say from also the competition perspective, you know, so the association which went to court was coming from the competition perspective.  As I said, for example, I'm having a company where I sell the best water in the world, and I happen to know an influencer because she's a friend of mine, we went to university or whatever together, and I say, hey, can you, you know, drink my water from time to time and promote it, that it's the best water in the world, but I don't pay her because I know her, where is the line of course.  I don't have to pay her because I know her from somewhere, but other companies who also happen to have the best water in the world, as I do, they have to pay her, so it's from a competition perspective, really difficult for them to sell it in the same way as I do, because I get advertising for free, and they would have to pay for it.  So there's also a really difficult, difficult line, of course.

Audience is really, for them, it's also really difficult to see through that, you know, of course, you see a lot of influencers really don't think maybe sometimes about what they are doing, which is also for influencers who have been, you know, on the field for many years, they maybe don't think about this, and they yet do something stupidly and just drink their water and say, yeah, best water in the world, but don't think about what they are doing, so it's kind of ‑‑ of course it's kind of hard to, you know, get to have to reliable for this.  I think it's the obligation which you have in every job in the world, you have obligations to check what you are allowed to do and what not, so you really have to have those regulations so they know what they are allowed to do and what not, so yeah, that's on that point.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Thank you.  Maybe Azad would like to comment on the issue of self‑regulations which Kathrin didn't agree with.

>> AZAD MAMMADLI: Yeah, I was going to do that.  Kathrin didn't agree with me, but I agree with Kathrin.

The self‑regulatory platform isn't perfect, and far from delivering the right level of protection for consumers, and I agree with that.  But why I did say self‑regulatory would be the best tool, because maybe this is more of a ‑‑ many people assume that any intervention from public side, I mean, the state intervention or the jurisdictional intervention for example, into private practice, is not good, shouldn't be there at all.  So that's why I think that if ‑‑ and I said this in my speech, if applied sincerely and comprehensively, this self‑regulatory maybe would be the key to answer most of the questions raised against this consumer protection topic.  Yes.  Thank you.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: I see Jamie writing a really interesting things in the chat.  I don't know if you can unmute yourself, and if you can also, you know, just tell what you want, I totally understand if you only want to write it in the chat.  I can try to read it out loud.  I think we can.

>>  JAMIE:  I think my audio is working.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: Or maybe we can also do that in the Q&A at the end.  I don't know.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: It would be better if we keep it for Q&A session, if it's okay also for Jamie.  Okay, great.  So we can continue with our next policy question, which is what technical or legal measures have been or must be taken by social media companies and/or governments respective to ensure smooth operations of online business accounts without prejudice to the personal data protection.

So I give ‑‑ first I give floor to Yawri.

>> YAWRI CARR: Thank you so much.  I have been here in the discussions that there's a lot of actually debate about the regulations that is not being so effective when applied also in different regions of the world.  We have the problems that maybe when these kinds of entrepreneurs are using social media such as Facebook or Instagram to sell their products or for their services, we don't have a lot of trust as consumers in how can we actually be secure or feel protected because we don't have any like guidelines or nothing in these kinds of markets, that were actually a huge ‑‑ they had a lot of increase during the COVID times.

And so that's why I would like to talk a bit more about new conceptions such as ethical design and also strategies instead of just trying to maybe create more articles or laws and try to ‑‑ yeah, just regulate in such a hard law perspective dynamic field.  By would like to include some concerns that we from the youth initiative called youth for policy‑makers, we created this year.  It is ‑‑ while it is an initiative from the German society, you can find it in YIGF.De.  We have different policy papers, and in these ‑‑ we have also one that's specifically about privacy, security and vulnerable groups, and we were talking, a group of young people, with all these policy makers and talking about concerns that we are not feeling secure online and we have, for example, one of our papers says that the ignorance of ordinary citizens while utilizing the internet is a major concern, due to literacy must be mandatorily incorporated to the educational systems.  To increase knowledge and awareness of end users on internet usage and security.

So as a personal opinion and also because of these concerns are arising, I think that it is necessary to empower the consumers, empower the citizens to assume ownership, not just of their choices, but also other personal data.

And we also talk about, such a popular concept or approach which is ethics but design, which I think is okay because it contributes to the things that we can create, systems that from the beginning are created to provide these privacy or ethics, but at the same time, it could also have some critics because it shapes the actions rather than the informational interface.  This means that actually the agents participating in the markets don't have such ‑‑ they don't become conscious of what they are doing online, they also don't develop the skills necessary to participate in online systems and also they don't know about the responsibilities as well as sellers and as buyers.

And I think that if we just provide these pre‑established go downs, it is not helping on this educational and these creation of awareness of the people that are actually buying in these markets or actually having a retail identity.

That's why I think that if we start to include an pro‑ethical design approach, it would be a bit better for these instances, like for education and for creating awareness, because it could provide more ownership for the people, for the ‑‑ also educate the agents participating in online activities and make them more critical about their choices, about their responsibilities that they are assuming and also I think this could create way more trust water scenario for the people and, yeah, the internet become a bit more safe and secure for everyone.

So some recommendations that in this sense that could be established would be development of principle based ethical codes, that these could be through negotiation, including the agents of these markets as the interlocutors, because they know exactly what's happening in these kinds of commercial relations.

On the second point, would be the validation, verification and evaluation of how the dynamics on these kinds of platforms are occurring as they are actually very changeable, and we don't know exactly what's going to happen in each of the transactions.

It would be good if each context in the ethical code is really defined and also if there is an implementation of translational tools that could make transition from the principles to the practice, and on the last point it would be the conduction of regular updates that these would be ‑‑ this would be in the best of the causes applied to the behavior of the whole company and not just to the product at the end because, yeah, I think it's also a good practice when we try to promote the ethical responsibility in the whole company or the whole platform that just in one product or like one specific service.  So I think it could be a bit more holistical and so, yeah, from my position, the idea, it would be like to educate consumer, to make ownership, to empower them to know about their rights and responsibilities and to ‑‑ I think this is a way to help create more secure internet.

And well, in a couple of minutes, I need to leave because I have another session at this moment as well.  Thank you, but it was very interesting discussion.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Thank you so much, Yawri.  If you have any questions of Yawri, she has to leave us, you can write down in the chat or you can ask now.  If you don't have any questions for now, so we can continue with our next speaker.  Shradha.

>> SHRADHA PANDEY: I'm going to be discussing the legal aspect of controlling and analyzing these businesses, about how that you can protect the data of the individual while also carrying out the business online, the internet economy is coming under scrutiny these days because of the exploitation of consumer data by platforms without appropriate consent and privacy protocols, there's another set of concerns that relate to misinformation, surveillance, accountability and the disproportionate size and influence of all these platforms in addition to the consent and privacy discussion that is already existing.

So all these have to come from a user end of the equation, from user side, it's often overlooked with how we deal with service providers while discussing very important issues such as hate speech, harmful content, the misinformation and disinformation being spread online.  We fail to analyze it from a consumer‑based perspective when discussing businesses.

Micro, small and medium scale enterprises hopping on the internet these days and businesses already existing, offer a wide variety of goods and services.  They are extremely popular because of the fact that they cater to the local needs of communities since the micro and target a specific group or population.  And the larger consumer segment or the consumer segment which was previously only physical relating to particular shops now is moving to online base.  Common economies developing such as India, Pakistan, their role in job creation, role in innovation, in productivity, it doesn't need a reiteration because they are leading to new jobs every day.  However, there is a small dichotomy between the dominant enterprises that already exist within this realm and the small‑scale microenterprises that are coming up in this regard and the possible adaptation in the online realm is something that has to be considered for small‑scale enterprises.

One of the few things that needs to be pointed out is the failure of specific providers, the unreasonable pricing, all these come within the small businesses coming online.  To the concern of data protection, this becomes relevant especially because since the micro and small‑scale enterprises have to cut down on costs to compete we this large‑scale platforms, they end compromising on the data protection of the consumers in the first place.

Now that is extremely problematic.  There are several issues that have dealt with this particular issue, there are several authorities that have dealt with it, especially in the case of India, there is the competition commission of India that deals with these issues.

The concern we this competition commissions and such other authorities and jurisdictions is that they deal with these issues on a case-to-case basis, which means there are thousands of cases that are being left out that are either not reported because people do not deem that information to be relevant or important, or these cases are not considered due to the fact that their impact is low compared to other large-scale companies.

Another aspect you they'd to understand in the case of other jurisdictions this has been Starkly district.  The Australian consumer commission released a report in December 2018, it recognized the critical role of popular platforms and businesses and the impact that they have on consumer protection rights and the data protection laws.  So they had to ensure the platforms, the content of various service providers.

This key to protection comes from two perspective, one from a service provider perspective as well as a consumer perspective.  Another legal angle we see is with respect to competition commission's report on competition policy for the digital era.  It argues about regulatory role needed to ensure the protection of the businesses and their complementary services, the complementary services deal with the large‑scale interaction between consumers and online businesses.

We are seeing the recommendations these dominant platforms should have a responsibility to ensure their roles do not impede the free flow of goods or the vigorous competition without an objective.  What we are seeing and what we are calling for is a level playing field to exist in the market, Pap that can happen only through proper regulation and proper channels.  India did try to go ahead with the self‑regulatory approach, we saw that with respect to the protection of privacy and data.  That was a major failure.  They focused on their profit margins and the protection of data was nature given a second thought.  They brought in the concept of data protection bills as with other privacy bills, one good thing about these bills, the multistakeholder process where they called for comments from all the stakeholders in the companies.

However, the decision was still by the state authorities.  And the amount of control that they still exercise over this data is huge.

Those are the few concerns that need to be considered that I watched to preliminarily point out, and if there are any particular concerns that needs to be elaborated on, you can put that in the chat box, and we can continue the conversation there.  With that, I hand it over to you, Narmin.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: I should mention if you have any questions on policy question No. 2, and you can address your questions.  We have a question from Jamie if want to speak up, you can, or if you don't want, I can.

>>  JAMIE:  Yeah, I can speak as long as the audio is working.  I'm from Australia, so I don't work for the ACCC, but another part of the Australian government.  I wanted to clarify, did you think the recommendation in the ACCC report, do you think they're positive and heading in the right direction, I wanted to clarify that.

>> SHRADHA PANDEY: When we are discussing about these concerns from an Indian angle, we talk the European perspective to be in the positive end, like we see that as something that we should go towards, and I think right now, we are discussing the policy concerns as well as the competition concerns, I think the report is in the right direction and specific concerns you want to point out that we can maybe discuss upon right now.

>>  JAMIE:  Thank you, I'm not familiar with the report, so nothing specific.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Kathrin has a question.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: Not a question, more of a comment because I really ‑‑ for me, it's really funny that a lot of you and a lot of people not from the European Union refer to the GDPR as a really great example and they think something like this could be implemented in their own countries and it's working really great.  Of course, we are really proud that we have those regulations.  But what I see and what I think is  ‑‑ no, I wouldn't call it funny, because it's actually not funny at all, but that a lot of consumers actually are annoyed about regulation, they have to go through ‑‑ yeah, we have a lot regulations and how the cookie vendors have to look and you have to accept them and all that stuff, which is basically amazing for consumer protection, but a lot of people are just annoyed about that saying we don't have to do that, and I always click yes, I accept everything, and it's just annoying and also smaller companies are really annoyed about the whole stuff with mailing lists and that stuff.  It's really funny to see that a lot of other countries are looking to those regulations and say that they are really great, but people within ‑‑ mostly Germany, are just annoyed by those regulations because they think they are smart enough to get the job done by themselves, and that they don't need regulation protections.

So something which Yawri said, you have responsibility by the consumers, you know, through digital literacy, if you call it like that, people are not maybe so annoyed anymore about the rules because they maybe understand more why they are in place.  Also, I think Shradha, what you say, we have those law problems, it's case on case problematics, I think that's something which we saw on my example in, like, the first question, that you don't really have rules which apply to every case, and that's really difficult because that makes the whole process of seeing which rules can apply really difficult for especially smaller companies, because that you don't really know what is applying to them.

Jamie, as you said, yeah, it's really nice about seeing the consumer experiences, which is ‑‑ I try, at least in my circle of family, friends, the people I can reach, when say, it's annoying and GDPR, I explain to them why it is really important, but, of course, it would be better if they just understand why we really have that in place and, yeah, so maybe if you apply something like this in your countries, I don't know, go with a really good campaign about why you have those.

>> SHRADHA PANDEY: One of the excuses they come up with, why let's wait and watch what is happening in other countries, we are still waiting for proper legislation, about time we started doing something about it.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Thank you all.  So it's now time to move on to our next posted question, which is about what legal or other images must be available to compensate the damage to consumers by fake business accounts.  I would like to gulf the floor to Azad.

>> AZAD MAMMADLI: Me again, okay.  Yes, thank you, Narmin again.

I think this question is closely related to the first one, the question of regulation.

The more we have social media companies, and the businesses are regulated, the more chance we have to compensate consumers, victim consumers, but on the other hand, the more ‑‑ enforce the regulation, the more questions were raised against this public intervention into private practice, as I said, in the first question.

So I think we need to find the right balance here.  On the one hand, we need to make sure that these fake online Boston or fraudulent activities do not go, how to say, unnoticed and unpunished, but on the other hand, we need to make sure that we don't put unreasonable burden of compensation on social media.  For example, in some cases, the provisions of Chinese law puts liability on business operators which can include social media companies to compensate victims of fraud, even if those companies are not the direct perpetrators of those illegal activities.

I'm still on the opinion in an ideal world, self-regulation should be sufficient to tackle consumer protection, even if it is not perfect.  These platforms should ensure that the accounts on their platforms employ the ‑‑ employ satisfactory, maybe even high standards of consumer protection, and address all challenges on consumer protection.

But, in practice, using a private or public enforcement tools becomes necessary to overcome any consumer rights violations.  More effective type of private type of enforcement is collective actions.  As I mentioned earlier, the new deal for consumers, a package of the European Union, provides how collective actions can contribute to improve the involvement of consumer associations in the protection of ‑‑ the consumer rights or the user rights on social media.  For instance, in some countries, for example, in Italy, Belgium and I think in Portugal, some consumer associations have come together to bring an action against Facebook, against consumer rights policies.

But still, these actions are not quite really available everywhere, and for everyone.  So that's why public enforcement is, I think, often ‑‑ becomes the number one choice of consumers.  One of the most common pieces of advice, that's given to victim consumers is contacting the bank or money transfer application and asking to reverse the transaction they just did, and another recommendation is complaining to the authorities.  Both of these pieces of advice, there's a need for cooperation between social media platforms and authorities, but I think it's safe to say that, unfortunately, such type of collaboration won't be happening for every single case of business ‑‑ online business frauds, on social media.

However, there are some good examples of had in the case of consumer violations.  For example, although not strictly designed for social media, authorized push payments framework of the United Kingdom is a good example in this case.  Authorized push payments scams are when customers are tricked to pay some amount of money into the bank account that they believe belongs to a legitimate payee, but, in fact, it's controlled by, for example, a criminal.

So under this framework, banks or payment service providers that are a member of this initiative, signed up to this initiative, fully reimburse the customers, if they fall victim of unauthorized push payments, and if they are not to blame, and by this, I mean provided that they did everything ‑‑ they ... to avoid.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: I'm sorry to interrupt.

>> AZAD MAMMADLI: Reasonably cautious.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: We had an internet issue, can you repeat what you said before, just your last sentence.

>> AZAD MAMMADLI: Yes.  Last sentence, what I was talking about, authorized push payments platforms, can use a ... similar approach to users, on services they provide, by compensating them.

If they are active, reasonably cautious.  Another potential source of remedy available for consumers, I think, is dedicated dispute resolution systems, people would be happy to report fraudulent activities to social media companies and expect a remedy just from them and nobody else.  It should take into account, we are talking about consumer rights violations, we don't limit it to only frauds or fake accounts or low quality or

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: I am sorry, Azad, I have to interrupt you because of the internet glitch.  Maybe you can continue.

>> AZAD MAMMADLI: Yes, Narmin.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Maybe you can continue on this issue on the Q&A session, because of the internet glitch, it's not clear what you are saying.

>> AZAD MAMMADLI: I don't know why it happens, but okay.  I can maybe continue in the Q&A session.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Yes, yes.  So I would like to move to our next speaker, Kathrin to talk on this posted question.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: Yeah, sure, I will jump in on that.  As we know, it wouldn't be a proper online meeting if there wouldn't be technical problems.

I think there was a type in the chat, we can later turn off your video so maybe it is better so that within only hear you, that normally helps.

Of course, I with all jump in now, and we can get back to you later.  So when we are thinking about how to compensate people if they are defrauded by fake accounts online, we actually do have a lot of rules, for example, of course, I'm talking about German laws, we have a lot of them who are to compensate people if they get defrauded.  Specifically on online fraud, but of course this is also something which is coming into play now as we have those more and more, and because of that, like next year, 2022, there will be some ‑‑ a lot of new regulations within the European Union, as I already mentioned that we have the consumer directive which was in place for some years now, starting I think 2015 or something about that, and we now have a lot of new laws coming in, and so parts of this consumer safe directive will be replaced by digital products directive, the digital services act, a lot of new stuff because the European Union just started its digital decade because, yeah, they were seeing that the internet is here now and maybe some regulations have to be adapted to problems coming with that.

And if you now have fraud with online fake accounts, of course you can go to civil courts and then you have all these regulations how to get your money back, but the most problem which we see at court isn't that we don't have the laws and rules to give people their money back, the problem is we don't find those persons that you don't know who created those talk accounts, reliability for them, and also maybe that those people are not within Germany, but they are somewhere around the world, which makes it totally difficult to proceed against them through civil court, which have the material to give you your money back.  So that's the biggest problem we have.

So the question is how can we solve this problem, how can we have rules which will help people throughout the world getting their money, for example, back, but it's not only about money, which you maybe pay for stuff you will never get, but also for data you give them, of course, what they do with that is totally different matter.

So that's kind of a problem from the real word, if you're sitting in court and we have this problem, we don't have someone we can have accountable for that.  So the question is how can we make the platforms accountable for this, that's also really difficult question because there is something which, you know, have been there for years, which I think started by those streaming platforms, and if someone is hosting a Wi‑Fi point and people are doing things in your Wi‑fi, are you accountable for this.  Of course, we have this privilege you are not accountable for this, you are doing a good thing and people are using your stuff for doing illegal things, but I think if you are thinking about platforms, who are commercial and they earn money with that, of course I really think that we can make them accountable for this so that they have to pay for it maybe, if not ‑‑ if the person is not found, the person who created this fake account, because it's the responsibility of the platforms.

Of course, this is really forfeit because it would make those platforms accountable for a lot of stuff.  I think that's maybe the only way we can tackle these problems.  Of course we see that under terms and conditions of platform, they say don't create fake accounts, blah, blah, blah, but it's not working at all again, so we have to go to the next step, if platforms are held accountable for what is happening on their web sites, even fraud, they maybe will check all their stuff more.  Of course, something, as I already raised, after consumers see frauds and red flagging whatever to show the platforms, of course is the most important way of doing it.  If I see something online and I think that could be a fake account, I flag it and platforms have to remove it quickly.  To even see that it's maybe a fake account, you have to be literal to do that, that's like a really important point in consumer protection.

So we have to have consumer protection centers involved and provide them more information about those issues so they can contribute to educational work and so that consumer could recognize those platforms or fake accounts on the platforms and maybe flag them and then the platforms have to remove them if they don't do that and people are defrauded by them, then the platform could be responsible to pay them back.  That could be maybe a way where you can get a handle of this problem, as you said, it's really difficult in the real world to, you know, apply those regulations onto real cases.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: That you, Kathrin, I see someone wants to ask a question from Katowice.  Okay, you can ask your question.

>> Audience: Thank you, I'm Nema, I'm a member of parliament from Tanzania, how can we protect consumers from fake online businesses?  I just wanted to get an understanding on what is your best advice to users from developing countries like Tanzania and other African countries in the sense where our legal framework is not where it is compared to the EU, how can the social media platforms somewhat support and enhance the security of people doing business online, thank you.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Kathrin, you want to start answering the question.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: I can try to start.  What you just said is so important.  I just shortly realized there is a real gap between, you know, my place of work and where I'm coming from to, as you said, some developing countries.  I realize that because I'm mentor to someone doing a project in India, and I was totally easy on yeah, do it like this and that.  Oh, Kathrin, we don't have those rules and those ideas here, so I have to go from a different angle.

What maybe is an idea about that is that you can try to have some people maybe from governments, but also from NGOs, if you have some active in this field, try to have consumer protection centers or something similar, really try to gulf education and literacy to maybe small companies, but also to people who are using social media platforms maybe in a way that you sent someone into a village and then you have a workshop there and maybe those people again can try to Ed cot their peers about it again, so maybe to really sensitize them for those issues.

Also, yeah, help those companies who are maybe active in that kind of from, maybe not for regulations but through education, I don't know if that could be an idea in this case.

>> AZAD MAMMADLI: I want to add something.  I totally agree with Kathrin on educating consumers, and this is very important.  I mean, the question was about the legal framework perspective, but educating consumers also will add a lot to the fight against any violations of consumer rights, I think, and you think another thing that can be considered here is getting your legal framework or legislation in line or similar line with the legislation of developed countries, like EU or other developed jurisdictions.  This is not ‑‑ this should not be applied without considering the local legal atmosphere or environment, but this can help a lot to enforce the rights of consumers in line with the or similarly in line with the framework in European Union or other developed jurisdictions.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Thank you, Azad.  First I would like to hear Shradha and then continue with Kathrin.

>> SHRADHA PANDEY: Right.  I had a few things to point out.  The first one was the active participation of users themselves, and this can come in many forms.  The one I was thinking of was in the grievance, redress mechanism.  Asking these companies for a strong grievance redress mechanism is one of the basic steps or can lay a proper foundation to go forward in the future, right.  One other aspect I wanted to discuss and elaborate a little further upon was with respect to the digital literacy Kathrin stressed in her answer.  So the problem or concern that we see these days in the developing economies and the studies about the internet as relates to access to internet, access while it remains a major problem, one other concern coming up is the literacy aspect of internet.  So people, now that internet is becoming a little cheaper, people have access to internet, but the problem is they don't know how to use it.  Their knowledge of internet is limited to social media companies or even Facebook or what's app.  They don't know there's another world out there they can use and can educate themselves.

Creating these grassroots organizations or empowering people to educate themselves can be one of the strongest steps to take in this regard.  The media companies can go a long way in aiding that.  Promoting such activities about educating themselves on their platforms them.  That   what I wanted to add.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Kathrin, you want to continue, or you wanted to ask the woman about the question.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: I wanted to ask her a question actually, but I see that she left because I was ‑‑ you know, sometimes I'm wondering if for my understanding sometimes, I don't really know, you know, what other countries are having in place as laws and regulations, so it's sometimes difficult to understand.  That's one of the biggest problems also which we have on global events like the global IGF, we are coming from totally different stages, people are coming from zero and other countries having a lot of regulations in this field.  That's also why it is difficult to have global rules and laws because we are on so different downs and have so different frameworks, that's also something which is ‑‑ never every part, really difficult if you want to have global perspective, I guess.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: That's what I guess to my open end, it creates a conflict, let's say, in the sense.

So now ‑‑ I would like to thank you to all our speakers for their presentations and now, we can move to our Q&A session, it will be about 12 minutes, we can get the questions from the audience.  If you're not mistaken, I promised to one person, Jenna.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: I think also Jamie at the beginning mentioned something, where we maybe can go back to.  If you want to.  I think Jamie, you had an example about also grocery retailers and that stuff, so if you want to go back to that, we could totally do that, but we can also continue with something else.

>>  JAMIE:  I'm happy to talk about it, if you like, it was basically just an example I remembered from studying different regulatory tools a while ago, and I also remember finding a diagram which kind of talked about basically the different regulatory models and when that you are most suited, self‑regulation versus proscriptive and the interest of being regulated.  I'm trying to saw, it's not sensible to make blanket statements, this kind of regulation never works, because it might work in a certain situation, just knowing the situations where it would work best.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: Yeah, totally, that's probably a point to something I said it never works, you totally agree with you, of course there are cases where this can ‑‑ where this can work.  Maybe I also have to add I'm a politically very active in Germany, and, of course, lot of perspective we have here is on, you know, you really have to regulate a lot of stuff, but of course there are a lot of fields where there's can also work, but from my perspective, you think something which really is important to mostly every person in this world, internet and social media for especially maybe younger persons, I think is something where self‑regulation stops if it's important to a lot of people.  But yeah, that's just my opinion, but yeah, as I said, there are examples where this is working, and grocery retailers is a good example for that.

>>  JENNA:  There are plenty of examples where regulation doesn't work, I'm not saying it doesn't work all the time.  Perhaps that's maybe where it gets a bad reputation, the times when it hasn't worked and people are really aware of those and people see it as a soft or infect of tool, which it can be, but it can work in those narrow situations.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: Maybe it's the question, and I think it's something important because like under process, we sometimes start with let's try self‑regulation and after two years, we see, oh, that didn't work, and then we have to implement rales and implement rules is like a really long process, sadly, most of the time, I mean, it is, for example in Europe, I don't know how it is in other countries, it's a long process.  If you don't have the process again which takes 1.5 years, you have three to four years, and then, you know, three to four years in internet time, that's like 100 of years, so starting with self‑regulations and see that it's not working and then have to go to the real rules, I think that's a process which is taking really long.

So how do we, you know, separate where self‑regulation maybe could work and where we have to start with the laws directly?  I think that's a difficult to decide.

>>  JAMIE:  Yeah, why it's going in with eyes wide open about when it will actually work and won't.  It is always hard because you don't want to be accused of being too heavy handed, sometimes it's like you have to have self‑regulation and it has to fail, then you are given a mandate to proceed.


>> NARMIN ABILOVA: If there is not any question from the audience, I can ask my question.  Actually it's somehow answered.

For example in the EU, you have regulation like in the GDPR, like online self‑directives which online business accounts are incompliance in most cases, let's say, but for developing countries, like my country, as Azerbaijan, we only have one about the protection in consumers, how are they in compliance with this law.

In most cases, also the ‑‑ for example, as we touched about the online payment, maybe they could prove, if they paid cash, so how it can be regulated and how, if they see that you are met with fraud, business account, which steps should be taken.

>> AZAD MAMMADLI: Thank you for the question.  Interesting question.  I'll try to make it short, because I don't want to ruin anymore of our session with my internet connection.  Weak Internet connection.

Yeah, that's a very good question because our law on the protection of consumers is an old law, from 1992 or 93 if I'm not mistaken.

So it obviously doesn't take internet developments or IT developments into attention.  So the law only generally covers this question, I mean the protection of consumers and doesn't pay very much attention on electronic consumer protection on the e‑commerce side of trade.  The practice is consumers can take ‑‑ can bring action against, for example, sellers, businesses, in just ordinary way, I mean, in the traditional way against these sellers, and the ‑‑ there are challenges, there are, for example, there are cases that courts do not know how to implement these ‑‑ how to respond to this question of online fraud, for example, in the context of the law of consumer protection, because it only covers the traditional consumer protection.

So there is a big need to reform the consumer protection law, the competition law, advertisement law and all of these kinds of laws.  But we are still in the process, you know that there are discussions of long years in the parliament about these reforms, but we are not still there, but hopefully we will be soon, I think, I believe.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: So thank you.  So if we don't have any questions, Kathrin suggested she can also raise the point about taxes and the platforms.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: It's not only about taxes, something you just thought about during our discussion.  So sometimes like it refers to the point that we don't really have laws applying to the whole world so we only have loss in the countries and then, of course, the ‑‑ Australians have different laws and we have the German influencer and they are loving in Dubai because that you don't have to pay high taxes there and maybe laws which would be in place in Germany which are really hard, aren't in place so they work there.

So what do we make out of this?  I think if you are German influencer and living in Dubai but your main audience in Germany because you do all your online stuff in German, so, of course, only German or Austrian people can understand what you're talking about, then you have to apply the rules which are in Germany for the platforms.  Of course, that's the first thing.  The second one is a lot of influencers or companies are moving like where they are seated to other countries  where they have lower taxes because, of course, they are on the internet so they can work from everywhere.  So to avoid high taxes they have and kind of what we always have here, like taxes are like the hot sword for people so that you move away, but you think it is, to be honest, it's really not fair and not working because I don't think if you have like your main people, your main followers in Germany, of course you have to pay, for example, your taxes in Germany, if you go to a different country and still work in Germany, I think that's a big problem, a lot of influencers are doing this at the moment.

What we also see, that is kind of made public but different associations and by other people, they are raising this point and start to make those influencers accountable for what they are doing.  They make them accountable for, you know, not paying taxes as they should do, to love in Dubai, which is a bit critical if you are coming from our ethics, and then yeah, that's something I wanted to raise because I think that's really interesting point within this whole problem that you can work from everywhere and that you just apply the laws from the place you are living and not the laws from the place where you are actually ‑‑ your actual workplace is, so yeah, that's just the point I wanted to raise because I was wondering about this a lot.  It totally is a question for lawyers and, yeah, you know, I'm trying, thinking about this a lot from my lawyer perspective or from my law perspective, but also from like the political perspective because those laws, of course, are political sword.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: I just have one little question.  So you know regarding the EU tax law, even if the person lives in another country and has professional country with the countries, that he has limited tax liability.  So if he operates online in this case, as far as I understand, it's an open question for ‑‑ open issue for EU countries, yeah.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: Yeah, so that's a point for like normal companies, you know, companies who are selling, I don't know, classes or shampoo or whatever, but within, for example, influencers, this is still not really solved in a really good way, so that's mostly the point for them, not for normal companies, yes..

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: We had a raise hand.

Okay, Jenna, you can speak up.

>>  JENNA:  It was really interesting to hear about the tax things raised by Kathrin earlier, this is Jenna from Hong Kong for the record, I wanted to add some small things act the situations because I think, forget about the online inference, it's a new industry, you think people living in one place or working for another country, targeting some audience in the third country, it's something more common these days, especially when internet gets really popular.

I think people can actually work from anywhere and then, as a consumer, we can also Beau things or consume any products from anywhere because basically internet, it has no boundary somehow.  So I think it's also important that we ‑‑ especially for some platform that has a stronger market share these days, I think they should take the responsibility to regulate a little bit more of their platform, because insert places platforms are privately owned public space.  So I guess, for example, Facebook, Instagram, they have to regulate that way.  Because I think nowadays, Instagram has the future of letting people have an account, making it feature as a shop, but then I think at the moment they don't require you to have a business license to register such features.  So I think to make it more reliable, these platforms should take it a step forward to how to regulate the things, especially when people tend to actually find stuff anywhere or working from in your, it's not limited to really traditional way of thinking how the government should regulate things in their own country because I think our world is, indeed, changing.

So the way we think should change a little bit also.  Thank you.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Thank you, everybody.  Here I should conclude our session as the time is almost up, and I would like to share with you the takeaways from this session, which is prepared by our rapporteur.  The first takeaway, there is an urgent need for the external regulation of online business accounts, even though it can be accompanied by self‑regulation.

Whether external or self‑regulation, international cooperation, as well as the cooperation between states and private social media companies is necessary.  Local and international consumer organizations can be an intermediary.

The models like in the European Commission or Australia can be followed, but some countries may need a more tailored protection regime.  Such approaches in the protection can work better than following legal transplants from developed countries.

Alternatives to the pre‑established designs in the protection that are not accessible to everyone can be considered, such as the pro‑ethical design in the regulation of online business accounts.

Even though the problem of identifying fraudulent actions is not a regulation problem per See but rather a practical matter.  The liability of social media platforms can be considered in the cases of fraud.

Legal regulation must not be the only solution, and it must be accompanied by educating consumers where again the role of consumer organizations is undeniable.

I would like to thank you all, thank you for our speakers, for their presentations, and thank you to our audience for their questions.  To the audience, if you have more questions, our speakers can write their contact dolls so you can reach out them with your questions, and I hope that you have learned and enjoyed this session.  So this ends actually our session.

If anybody wants to say something, you can, because we have almost one to two minutes.

>> KATHRIN MORASCH: I just wanted to say a quick thank you also to the audience to the active and not only to have questions, but also raise some of your points.  That was a really interesting, thank you for that.

>> AZAD MAMMADLI: I want to thank the other speakers, and other session organizers, and the audience for all the input we had today and all the contribution and, again, sorry for my unstable internet connection.

>> NARMIN ABILOVA: Okay thank you!