IGF 2019 WS #144 Platforms and moderation - norms or regulation?

Organizer 1: Farzaneh Badii, Internet Governance Project
Organizer 2: Jordan Carter, InternetNZ
Organizer 3: Ellen Strickland, Internet New Zealand
Organizer 4: ,

Speaker 1: Jordan Carter, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Farzaneh Badii, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Maureen Hilyard, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Konstantinos Komaitis, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

1. Will forcing platform operators to take legal responsibility for illegal or harmful content uploaded by their users suppress too much speech?

2. Is it reasonable to expect platforms to identify and takedown all objectionable content before it is ever aired?

3. Is the use of social media platforms by foreign governments to provide alternative views on sensitive international issues a threatening action that needs to be controlled, or a broadening of access to information?

4. Would a failure to establish norms on this subject increase the pressure for governmental regulation of platforms, the Internet, or both?

5. What is the most appropriate policy development process: Are policies solely determined by platform operators legitimate? Appropriate? Effective?

6. Should platform operators rely on their community of users for developing user policies? Should they wait for government regulations to determine how they process content?

Relevance to Theme: The security and safety of Internet users is affected by the presence of objectionable content on mainstream Internet platforms. Digital civility can be compromised. Platforms often develop their own standards or norms for how to tackle this challenge. Should citizens or governments have more of a say?

Further, global norms could help drive security and safety for all Internet users; the absence of them could inspire states to move towards a more regulatory approach with the associated risks of fragmentation

Relevance to Internet Governance: Internet platforms are a key arena of public use of the Internet and of people’s participation in society. Regulatory pressures on the evolution and use of the Internet will intensify if suitable norms or regulatory approaches to platforms are not developed. As such, the outcomes of this debate will shape the evolution and use of the Internet directly.


Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Description: In the round table, the identified speakers will share short perspectives on the issues under discussion.

This will take approx 20 minutes.

We will then ask all those present to form groups of 3-4, in the audience, to discuss the material presented and develop their own thinking in response.

The remainder of the session will be dedicated to short, snappy reports-back from participants on their stances on the issues.

A short wrap up by organisers at the end will summarise back the key themes heard.

Expected Outcomes: The outcomes will be
- a documented set of shared perspectives on the policy questions being discussed
- a broader understanding among all participants about the diversity of perspectives in answering the policy questions.

Onsite Moderator: 

Ellen Strickland, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Ellen Strickland, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


PABLO HINOJOSA, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group

Discussion Facilitation: 

The entire structure of the round table is interactive. By introducing topic material, and then having a short spontaneous breakout followed by report back, the audience will be encouraged to speak with people they do not know, share ideas in a low stress way, and share those perspectives back to the whole of the session.

Online Participation: 

We will seek comments from those using the official tool and can read some into the record during the dialogue.

At least one speaker will be a remote participant and will contribute their views to the Round Table from the Pacific.

Proposed Additional Tools: We may make use of hashtags (to be agreed) on Twitter and other platforms in the lead up and during the round table, to elicit further input.


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