Von der Leyen’s European Commission is aiming to set global standards for emerging technologies. Its regulation of social media platforms intends to be one of the most comprehensive and innovative projects of its kind. Safeguarding democratic discourse online is a key issue. This Briefing Paper takes stock of the Commission’s current policy initiatives and highlights the key issues up for discussion, by whom and how these two tracks will be managed at the EU level, and the various spaces for citizen consultation.
The regulatory efforts by the European Union on online discourse will be addressed on two parallel tracks: The Digital Services Act, and the Democracy Action Plan. The Digital Services Act will be an update of the EU’s E-Commerce Directive from 2000, ensuring a common market for digital services and common rules on illegal content. The Democracy Action plan will be focusing on issues such as disinformation and political advertising.
Topics that could be regulated by these two tracks include disinformation, hate speech, paid political advertising, the potential role of a regulator, and the transparency and access to data for research.