As the EU works through the contours of the new Digital Services Act, my EFF colleagues Svea Windwehr, Christoph Schmon and Jillian York have published a set of four principles for sound digital platform regulation.
I. Give Users Control Over Content: Let users decide how their feeds are ordered, mandate interop so that it's easy for users to install plugins that do this work for them, ban ToS that forbids reverse-engineering and interconnection.
Abandon the idea that platforms have the final word about what is and isn't objectionable and/or harassing. Let users choose what they want to block and what they want to see, rather than petitioning platforms and hoping they get a hearing.
II: Algorithmic Transparency: Platforms should divulge the criteria they use for recommendation and flagging, and explain in clear terms when/why/how algorithmic systems are used. Allow third-party and regulatory audits of algorithms.
III. Accountable Governance: Make platforms notify, explain and consult on content policy changes, require meaningful consent to new policies and allow for opt-outs, and make policies machine readable and accessible to humans without specialized knowledge.
IV. Right to Anonymity Online: Ditch "real names" proposals aimed at fighting disinformation and respect the will of individuals not to disclose their identities online.
That was my summary, but I urge you to read the original: as befits their prodigious communications skills, it's a sprightly and eminently readable doc!
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