From Editorial Obligation to Procedural Accountability: New Policy Approaches to Online Content in the Era of Information Intermediaries
Final version published in Journal of Cyber Policy, 3:2, 165-186, DOI: 10.1080/23738871.2018.1519030
19 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018 Last revised: 30 Oct 2018
Date Written: May 25, 2018
**This is an early working version of a paper subsequently revised and published in Journal of Cyber Policy 3(2) at doi: 10.1080/23738871.2018.1519030 **
When online information intermediaries govern the exchange of news, content and speech, their rules (in this broad Lessigian sense) can raise profound issues of social welfare, cybersecurity and human rights. Information intermediaries are not publishers, but their role in facilitating content discovery means their rules have inevitable ethical implications; they are not merely neutral conduits.
The past two years has seen heated debate about intermediaries’ responsibilities with respect to online content. Commentators have alleged that in a wide range of areas, intermediaries’ commercial incentives are insufficient to address harmful or illegal content, and that regulation is required.
Arguments for content regulation need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and this paper does not seek to give a general view on the desirability of regulation. However, given that tensions between private market governance and law are inevitable, and will continue to raise issues of public interest, it is important to consider possible regulatory strategies; that is the purpose of this paper.
Keywords: internet governance, online intermediaries, intermediary liability, safe harbours, online platforms, free speech, hate speech, internet safety, copyright, procedural accountability, digital charter, content regulation
JEL Classification: K2, H32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation