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Future Research on Conver gence and Social Media

Future Research on Conver gence and Social Media

Andrej Školkay
with contributions by Lukasz Porwol, Bissera Zankova, Klara Szalay, Ľubica Adamcová, Igor Daniš, Veronika Vighová and Adina Marincea

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
A large combination of the public journalistic academic opinions presented in the media started voicing suggestions on how to regulate social media, during 2018 and 2019 in EU countries and a few of the other non EU countries. The summary of these suggestions is is the key part of this report. These findings are presented in thematic blocs and special tables.

Furthermore, the report explores the political intentions and the legal activities that are being carried out to prevent the impact with the social harms across several countries of the world. Moreover, an overview of about 50 expert comme ntators and the politicians who are trying to approach the social media with an aim to control them internationally and globally has been presented.

This selection not only gives a sample of the discourses and overview of the issues globally, but it also broadens the traditional regulatory perspective that focuses on self, co, and a public (state) regulation. Furthermore, by definition, the legal discourses show a specifically narrow contribution to the regulatory debate. Thus, there is emerging a clear gl obal view regarding the steps taken towards the social media regulation and the agreement that the social media regulation is needed. For this challenging task, global or at least regional consensus is the best option. However, there is not a full consensu s either at the key issues that should be regulated or how the regulation of social media should look like. In contrast, a number of authoritative states simply pass the legislation regulating social media or some aspects of them, while for the blocs of th e states such as the EU, it is important to first strengthen the self regulation, including the fast checking process and explore these issues through detailed reports of the issues that are at stake.

The foremost policy issues discussed during a period in question appeared to be to fight against the fake news, and to protect the social media users against social harms. However, traditional focus to support the pluralistic legacy media and the journalism may not be sufficient strategy in mid term perspective. Neither support for the media education, critical thinking skills and digital competence, and the media literacy among young people may work in the short term. Yet the regulatory actions are urgently needed. Moreover, this approach is challenged on co nstitutional (if there is a free speech, why we should limit or ban even fake speech?) and definitional grounds (what is “fake news” and who should determine them).

While coregulation is slowly taking place, self regulation of social media seems to be an abandoned approach in many countries. As many regulatory attempts based on legacy media have documented, the traditional solutions are not workable either. In order to tackle the social media harms, in additional to standard, business type electronic/digi tal media regulation , economy based approaches towards social media regulation and technology based approaches are emerging in the discourse of modern regulations.

The results of media (mainly political, expert and journalistic) discourses on social media regulation suggest that in the current, rather specialised academic fields, including public regulatory policies specialists, there is a need for a more diverse and more innovative regulatory approaches.

With an aim to tackle the social media harms, t echnology based approaches may include methods such as the micro targeted advertising, prohibition of the data intensive collecting and even, under exceptional circumstances, shutting down of Facebook and other social media. Adjusting the sensitivity of th e algorithms, technology has allowed tracking platforms that promote hateful content. During the terrorist attacks broadcast online, these platforms can also speed up their monitoring and checking procedures. To flag the content for the immediate removal, temporary quarantines may be introduced that may be re examined later. They may be constitutionally problematic as compared to any other context than just during emergency.

Social media platforms might consider to ban the extensive sharing of the problematic content within atic content within their sites. The first solution has already been applied by Whatsapp, and later on at some other their sites. The first solution has already been applied by Whatsapp, and later on at some other platforms. platforms. The above described approach is calledThe above described approach is called algorithmalgorithm–incentives based approach. This incentives based approach. This approach ensures that the content has been remoapproach ensures that the content has been removed from the site automatically by creating a ved from the site automatically by creating a shared database of hateful content making it possible to ban it completely. shared database of hateful content making it possible to ban it completely. Lastly, by Lastly, by organizing the organizing the platform algorithms that isolates the contribution from the harmful actor’s, regular efforts can work platform algorithms that isolates the contribution from the harmful actor’s, regular efforts can work best.best.
It is mentioned that as there is already in operation some “propaganda filters” or spam filter for fake It is mentioned that as there is already in operation some “propaganda filters” or spam filter for fake news, and there also are tools for the parents that can help them regulate the behavior of their news, and there also are tools for the parents that can help them regulate the behavior of their children online. The deeper involvement of the AI is exchildren online. The deeper involvement of the AI is expected by Zuckerberg in five to ten years. In pected by Zuckerberg in five to ten years. In the meantime, some of the educators should target parents on how to use tools to protect their the meantime, some of the educators should target parents on how to use tools to protect their children and themselves too.children and themselves too.

A number of interesting economyeconomy–based approachesbased approaches are emerging. These approaches use mare emerging. These approaches use motivation otivation in order to motivate (reward) or sanction (punish) in the groups of either provider or the user in order to motivate (reward) or sanction (punish) in the groups of either provider or the user (platforms). To allow permission to use, in some countries governments outline policies for social (platforms). To allow permission to use, in some countries governments outline policies for social media platforms that charge citizens who use the somedia platforms that charge citizens who use the social media platforms and indemnification for the cial media platforms and indemnification for the social media data breachsocial media data breach..

Then there is an idea (“reward”) to come up with a new data dividend for the users for the use of their data. Some further suggest to authorize on the cartel legislations for the abtheir data. Some further suggest to authorize on the cartel legislations for the abuse market use market dominance or for gathering the information from the users, and there is the idea to break up the big dominance or for gathering the information from the users, and there is the idea to break up the big platforms. Finally, plans go further platforms. Finally, plans go further — to look for the nonto look for the non–commercial ownership to social media commercial ownership to social media platforms and the development of a European versplatforms and the development of a European version of Facebook. ion of Facebook.

A number of researches have suggested that by smearing on both the inducements–based economic based economic strategies, better outcomes could prevail. Generally,strategies, better outcomes could prevail. Generally, retribution is one of the most longretribution is one of the most long–lasting lasting features, but combining remuneration and casfeatures, but combining remuneration and castigation works besttigation works best. Moreover, to alter the three . Moreover, to alter the three components of the motivation (altruistic motivation, material selfcomponents of the motivation (altruistic motivation, material self–interest and social or selfinterest and social or self–image image concerns) can also change the making that is being attached to the anticoncerns) can also change the making that is being attached to the anti–social behavior and hence, social behavior and hence, leads leads in the reputational incentive to engage in it.in the reputational incentive to engage in it.

Within our sample, the most innovative stream of suggestions seems to focus on establishing iindependently owned servers and/or new publicly owned social media. There are also some ndependently owned servers and/or new publicly owned social media. There are also some interesting technical solutiinteresting technical solutions such as ons such as Noble´s proposal that future public platforms should set limits Noble´s proposal that future public platforms should set limits on how quickly content circulates. on how quickly content circulates. The other, traditional regulatory alternatives, seems to be focused The other, traditional regulatory alternatives, seems to be focused on breaking up the tech giants and/or to enforce antitrust, and/or copyright on breaking up the tech giants and/or to enforce antitrust, and/or copyright and/or data privacy and/or data privacy legislation. In general, there is an increasing tendency to enforce traditional lawlegislation. In general, there is an increasing tendency to enforce traditional law–based regulation for based regulation for social media, similar to television and radio regulation.social media, similar to television and radio regulation.

Policy and decision makers’ may follow regulatory approaches that are guand decision makers’ may follow regulatory approaches that are guided by values such as ided by values such as conceptual clarity, technical feasibility and considering adverse consequences. The specific conceptual clarity, technical feasibility and considering adverse consequences. The specific procedures based on these values should be conversed clearly, and lead to cumulative regulatory and procedures based on these values should be conversed clearly, and lead to cumulative regulatory and podiums operations transparency.podiums operations transparency. The regThe regulatory perspective of the human rights/legal perspective ulatory perspective of the human rights/legal perspective should include the appeal process (both of the platforms and users).should include the appeal process (both of the platforms and users).

This is partial deliverable of the H2020 CSA Project: COMPACT: From Research To Policy Through Raising Awareness of the State of the Art on Social Media and Convergence, Project Number 762128.

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