What Can Be Said Online in Germany and Austria? A Legal and Terms of Service Taxonomy

132 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2020

See all articles by Anna-Sophia Tiedeke

Anna-Sophia Tiedeke

University of Hamburg

Matthias C. Kettemann

Institute for Theory and Future of Law, University of Innsbruck; Hans-Bredow-Institute for Media Research; Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society

Felicitas Rachinger

Hans Bredow Institute

Marie-Theres Sekwenz

Hans Bredow Institute

Ben Wagner

Delft University of Technology - Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management

Date Written: November 23, 2020

Abstract

All platforms conduct content governance, by humans and by algorithms. Especially in times of growing dangers of Corona-related disinformation and a polarised US election campaign platforms have become more active in governing speech. The number of platforms transparency reports and content governance disclosures – voluntarily (like in the US) or not (like in Germany) – is growing. Platforms, however, do not usually include examples in their reports. It is therefore very difficult for researchers to replicate the deletion/non-deletion decisions and check deleted content against national law and platform rules systematically. Both the data (deleted contents) and a taxonomy of norms under which deletion happens have been unavailable. This paper, for the first time, provides a legal and terms of service taxonomy that allows for the evaluation of the quality of individual content governance decisions for German and Austrian online forums. It allows other researchers, when they have access to deleted platform content, to code them systematically and in doing so to better assess the extent to which content governance matches the legal and terms of service categories platforms claim to be implementing.

Keywords: content governance, freedom of expression, terms of service, illegal content

Suggested Citation

Tiedeke, Anna-Sophia and Kettemann, Matthias C. and Rachinger, Felicitas and Sekwenz, Marie-Theres and Wagner, Ben, What Can Be Said Online in Germany and Austria? A Legal and Terms of Service Taxonomy (November 23, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3735932 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3735932

Anna-Sophia Tiedeke

University of Hamburg ( email )

Allende-Platz 1
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

Matthias C. Kettemann

Institute for Theory and Future of Law, University of Innsbruck ( email )

Austria

HOME PAGE: http://https://itzr.at

Hans-Bredow-Institute for Media Research ( email )

Rothenbaumchaussee 36
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society ( email )

Bebelplatz 1 | 10099
Berlin
Germany

Felicitas Rachinger

Hans Bredow Institute ( email )

Dependance
Warburgstr. 8-10
Hamburg, 20354
Germany

Marie-Theres Sekwenz

Hans Bredow Institute ( email )

Dependance
Warburgstr. 8-10
Hamburg, 20354
Germany

Ben Wagner (Contact Author)

Delft University of Technology - Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management ( email )

P.O. Box 5015
2600 GB Delft
Netherlands

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