IGF 2021 WS #57 Multistakeholder initiatives in content governance

Friday, 10th December, 2021 (10:15 UTC) - Friday, 10th December, 2021 (11:45 UTC)
Ballroom A

Organizer 1: Milton Mueller, Georgia Tech Internet Governance Project
Organizer 2: Farzaneh Badii, Social Media Governance Initiative/Yale Law School

Speaker 1: Konstantinos Komaitis, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Farzaneh Badii, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Dia Kayyali, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Courtney Radsch, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Ellen Strickland, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 6: Erin Saltman, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Milton Mueller, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Farzaneh Badii, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Farzaneh Badii, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

Assessing Internet governance approaches and mechanisms and fostering inclusiveness: What are the main strengths and weaknesses of existing Internet governance approaches and mechanisms? What can be done, and by whom, to foster more inclusive Internet governance at the national, regional and international levels?
Governance and cooperation for an evolving Internet: How does Internet governance need to change in order to meet the changing nature and role of the Internet? What tools, mechanisms, and capacity building instruments are needed for stakeholders to effectively cooperate, and engage in Internet governance?

Additional Policy Questions Information: How can Internet governance approaches and mechanisms respond to the diversity of viewpoints and cultures in content moderation on social media platforms?

ASSESSING IG APPROACHES AND MECHANISMS AND FOSTERING INCLUSIVENESS: By examining the Christchurch Call, the Facebook Oversight Board, and the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, our session will directly address this policy question. It will systematically evaluate three of the most important transnational content governance mechanisms developed in the last two years. We will be assessing the way they are organized, the extent to which their organizational form includes and meaningfully empowers different stakeholder groups, and the extent to which these initiatives have a real impact on social media platforms' mechanisms of content governance. GOVERNANCE AND COOPERATION FOR AN EVOLVING INTERNET: We address the ways that IG needs to change by critically assessing the three new mechanisms mentioned above (CC Call, FBOB, GIFCT). How are they working, what problems have been identified, and what recommendations can we make for their improvement or modification? We identify the specific tools, mechanisms and capacity building instruments used for content governance in multistakeholder initiatives and evaluate their fairness and effectiveness. COPING WITH DIVERSE VIEWPOINTS AND CULTURES: How are the structures and mechanisms of these new multistakeholder initiatives in content governance dealing with the extreme diversity among cultures and viewpoints?


10. Reduced Inequalities
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Targets: The workshop's emphasis on inclusive governance and the impact of content relates to SDG 10.2 on "empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status. The workshop's emphasis on the institutional design of content governance mechanisms relates to SDG 16.6 "Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels" and SDG 16.7 "Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels"


This workshop will critically examine three new multi-stakeholder experiments in content governance. It will compare, contrast and evaluate 1) the Christchurch Call and its Advisory Network, 2) the Facebook Oversight Board, and 3) the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. All three use new governance models to develop policies and practices to guide the suppression of social media content deemed harmful or objectionable. These initiatives raise important questions about the relationship between private commercial platforms, governments, law, human rights, and the role of public input in resolving the ongoing tension between freedom of expression and controversial social media content. The workshop will bring together academic experts on multistakeholder Internet governance models with representatives of the platforms, government policy makers and leading civil society people involved in the initiatives. The panel will engage in a systematic assessment of how things are working, what seems to be going right, and what may be going wrong. The assessment will focus primarily on the organizational arrangements and the representational and consultation mechanisms (i.e. how they include different stakeholders and how their arrangements change or reinforce power relations among them), but will also consider the substantive policies being produced by the initiatives and their effectiveness.

Expected Outcomes

The workshop will have three expected outcomes: 1. The different stakeholders in government, business and civil society will achieve a better understanding of whether the other stakeholders feel satisfied, empowered or marginalized by the new arrangements. 2. Based on the workshop discussions and followup, the organizers will produce a report that will provide direct and specific advice to the three initiatives about how to improve their governance arrangements 3. The report will be disseminated publicly and among the members of the Christchurch Call Advisory Network, the CC Call Principals, GIFCT, and the Facebook Oversight Board members. Many of the participants in the workshop lead international organizations (ISOC, IGP, CPJ, Mnemonic, InternetNZ) who can disseminate the report.

A framework for analysis and comparison of the three initiatives will be developed beforehand and circulated among the roundtable participants. This framework will be projected as a visual and modified as the session proceeds.

Presentations and discussion will be organized around the following ideas: a) How does the content governance initiative balance governmental and private (business) power? b) How does the content governance initiative involve civil society? Is the arrangement purely consultative, or is CS represented in decision making processes? c) How transparent are the decision making processes? d) How are conflicts among stakeholders resolved? How are conflicts with national laws and policies resolved? e) What are the shortcomings or failures of each initiative, if any? How might they be remedied?

The discussion of these questions will be moderated cooperatively by both an onsite and online moderator, and the goal will be to facilitate a free-flowing, interactive exploration of each question rather than a rigid series of slide presentations. As salient points are made by speakers and audience members, they will be written down on the framework and used as the basis for the report described in "expected outcomes"

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: The organizations involved will use their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts as well as some email lists to promote awareness of the workshop. Links to recordings of the sessions and summary reports will be posted on the IGP website.