IGF 2019 WS #328 Multistakeholder Models for Online Content Moderation

Organizer 1: Megan Metzger, Stanford University, Global Digital Policy Incubator
Organizer 2: Eileen Donahoe, Global Digital Policy Incubator, Stanford Universiiy
Organizer 3: Thomas Hughes, ARTICLE 19

Speaker 1: David Kaye, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Arun Chinmayi, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: MacKinnon Rebecca, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

How can a multistakeholder approach contribute to the development of both government and platform level regulations for online content?
What principles should be used to structure approaches to regulating content online?
How do we go about protecting free expression while also preventing the most serious negative impacts of online content?

Relevance to Theme: The goal of this panel is to help develop structures to ensure that approaches to improving online content take into account the perspectives of a range of stakeholders. As we think about moving towards a more secure, stable and resilient online space, developing multistakeholder approaches to these problems will be critically important.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The panel is focused on new approaches to the development of regulations at both the national government level, at the platform level, and in the development of principles at the global level. We hope that this new model will play an important role in internet governance in the future.


Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Description: Social media and the internet have dramatically changed the way we exchange information. Digital spaces provide incredible opportunities, but also present brand new challenges that governments, tech companies and citizens are still struggling to effectively tackle. This roundtable will function as a workshopping exercise, to develop the practical terms of a participatory, multistakeholder approach to the moderation of online content. The need for a multistakeholder model to help address content online is grounded in the interplay between several increasingly troubling trends: first, governments are considering or passing legislation that pose very real threats to freedom of expression online; second, private sector companies exercise extraordinary control over what is and is not allowed on their platforms, which have increasingly come to represent a substantial proportion of the public square, with very little transparency or accountability in their processes; and third, the urgent need to combat harmful online content, while protecting and respecting core commitments to freedom of expression.

With input from speakers who are experts in online content and human rights, this roundtable will focus on answering practical questions about elements of a feasible multistakeholder model for a social media council. Some key questions will include: How should we properly structure such bodies to ensure effectiveness, buy-in from governments and platforms, and protection of foundational human rights principles? Who should be a member of such a body? How should members be selected? What will be the specific function of such a body: will it review individual appeals on content, or serve as an advisory body to help establish global standards? Should there be a single body, or should there be national- or regional-level bodies?

This event at IGF will build on input from previous meetings the co-sponsors have convened at Stanford University, at RightsCon in Tunis, and at World Press Freedom day in Addis Ababa. We expect that the roundtable will play an important role in the creating a new global multistakeholder body to tackled challenging governance issues related to challenging online content.

Expected Outcomes: This session will directly inform the process of consulting and designing a multistakeholder social media council for online content moderation. Participants will directly contribute to the development of these bodies through their input, and by helping to tackled outstanding practical questions. This will form the cornerstone for

Onsite Moderator: 

Eileen Donahoe, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Megan Metzger, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Megan Metzger, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

We hope that this will be a very participatory roundtable. We will begin the conversation by asking each of the speakers to briefly address some core questions, but very quickly will open the discussion to the audience. This discussion will be structured around core questions, developed in advance and designed to elicit participation, and to structure the conversation around getting input that will facilitate moving the idea forward practically.

Online Participation: 

We hope that the online participation tool will allow us to get feedback from an even broader range of stakeholders than those in attendance at IGF. We hope that this tool will allow feedback on our core questions from those off-site and will contribute in useful ways to the conversations in the room.


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