A Typology of Social Media Regulations in Europe and Their Possible Future Development
Keywords:internet regulation, social media, freedom of expression, self-regulation, co-regulation
Social media, search engines, and application platforms are the most important online gatekeepers from the perspective of freedom of expression. These routinely make ‘editorial’ decisions to make certain content inaccessible or to delete or remove it (either to comply with a legal obligation, to respect certain sensitivities, to protect their business interests or at their own discretion). Through such decisions, they directly influence the flow of information. The regulation of gatekeepers also determines the extent to which they are able or obliged to intervene in the process of publishing user content. The number and scope of regulations continue to grow, and the nature of these regulations is diversifying, even more so for online gatekeepers than for traditional media, and this imposes a wide range of rights and obligations on them. The paper reviews the regulations governing social media platforms in Europe, as gatekeepers, which have the greatest impact on the public sphere, typifying the regulations and considering possible directions for their future development.