CPDP 2019: Content regulation and its impact on democracy


Internet platforms have become important fora of public debate, offering tools for increased democratic participation and engagement. The central role of internet platforms enables them to wield considerable control over online speech. Platforms effectively have the power to decide what content to disseminate and what content to remove. The same power is used to adjust content according to the profiles of users developed on the basis of their personal data. Recent scandals have shown that platforms can be misused as instruments of misinformation, propaganda and manipulation. Policy makers try to address the issue by regulating or by incentivising platforms to adopt codes of conduct.

This panel, organised by the Centre for IT & IP Law – CITIP of KU Leuven at the CPDP2019, addresses the impact of misinformation and content regulation on freedom of expression and democracy.

• What are the policy implications of co-opting private entities to regulate speech?
• How easy or difficult is it to recognize non-authentic content or accounts?
• Can content verification tools help address problems of misinformation?
• Are “voluntary” codes of conduct a way to circumvent the prohibition of general monitoring obligations under article 15 of the E-Commerce Directive?

Chair: Joris Van Hoboken, VUB-LSTS (BE)
Moderator: Guillermo Beltrà, Access Now (BE)
Speakers: Jochen Spangenberg, Deutsche Welle/WeVerify Project (DE); Anni Hellman, DG CNECT (EU); Aleksandra Kuczerawy, CiTiP (BE); Marisa Jimenez Martín, Facebook (BE)

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