IGF 2023 WS #531 Beyond regulation: the challenges of platform policy


Global Digital Governance & Cooperation
Harmonising Global Digital Infrastructure
Regulatory Sandboxes for Technological Innovations

Organizer 1: Fernanda Kalianny Martins Sousa, ๐Ÿ”’
Organizer 2: Alice Lana, ๐Ÿ”’
Organizer 3: Ester Santos, InternetLab
Organizer 4: Clarice Tavares, InternetLab

Speaker 1: Joao Brant, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Irene Mwendwa, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Agustina Del Campo, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Fernanda Kalianny Martins Sousa, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Online Moderator

Clarice Tavares, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Ester Santos, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. How have social media platforms policies affected the development of an online public debate that respects the human rights principles of equity and non-violence?
B. How can a multi-stakeholder framework for combating online inequalities be built? And how can responsibilities be balanced within this instance?
C. What is the role of states, civil society and platforms in building a public debate with integrity?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Through the session, we expect the speakers to share how the debate about platform policies is taking place in their regional context, describing the challenges faced and the dialogues being built among local actors. Panel time will be split in half, each of the four speakers will have 10 minutes for an opening speech, for a total of 40 minutes. After the opening speeches, the remaining 50 minutes will be set aside for comments from the audience and for the participants to be able to react to each other's speeches. The regional diversity of the panel, led by a facilitator with expertise on social media platforms policies and combat hate speech and violence online, will make it a good opportunity to see the issue from a distinct framing with new voices. A discussion summary will also be made available to participants after the session.


The ongoing debate surrounding the development of more inclusive platforms that effectively address issues such as hate speech, political violence, and other phenomena affecting marginalized groups, as well as online violence and the preservation of digital civic space, often centers around platform regulation. While platform regulation is undeniably essential in ensuring a democratic and equitable online environment, it is important to acknowledge that regulation alone cannot fully tackle the complexities of communication, inequality, hate speech, and online violence. Within this discussion, it is imperative to consider additional aspects pertaining to platform policies, including content moderation, terms of use, and policies concerning public figures. Regional specificities and the impact on social markers of difference should also be taken into account when making decisions in these areas. This gives rise to important questions: What challenges exist in constructing fairer and more equitable platform policies beyond regulation? How can collaborative efforts among multiple stakeholders enhance content moderation policies, policies for public figures, and terms of use while considering regional diversity and social differences? How have civil society, academics, and policymakers from different regions of the world been engaging in this ongoing debate? In this session, our objective is to bring together platform policymakers, civil society representatives, and academia from diverse regions to discuss the primary challenges involved in shaping platform policies that reflect local specificities. The aim is to generate dialogue on recommendations for terms of use that align with human rights, the fight against inequalities, and democratic principles. By fostering an open dialogue, we strive to contribute to the construction of platforms that serve as inclusive, democratic spaces in the digital realm.

Expected Outcomes

Our outcome is to build a participatory space where social media platforms, organized civil society, and academics debate the importance of platform terms of use, rules, and policies for constructing a digital environment free of violence, especially against historically marginalized populations. In this sense, throught the session, we aim to achieve the following output:
Development of a letter of recommendation to social media platforms on minimum parameters needed to build effective policies and terms of use to combat online violence

Hybrid Format: The session will feature a virtual room where booth the online participants and speakers unable to attend the conference in person will be able to interact. During the first 40 minutes, the online moderator will use Zoom platform's polling tool to carry out votes on the proposed Policy Questions and collect the audience's main trends of thought, presenting them later during the 50 minute debate. During the period reserved for questions, the dynamics of the event will follow a rotation between questions asked on-site and questions or positions of participants in online mode read by the online moderator. In addition, the online participants will have access in real-time to the minutes of the event that the rapporteur will produce.