5 min read

Platforms quizzed on safety record, UN's new integrity code and the 'post-hoc' safety era

The week in content moderation - edition #205
UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaking in 2018
UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaking in 2018 by Kuhlmann / MSC and licensed CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Colour applied

Hello and welcome to Everything in Moderation, your guide to the policies, products, platforms and people shaping the future of online speech and the internet. It's written by me, Ben Whitelaw and supported by members like you.

This week, we see a dynamic that will likely become more common in the future: governments (Australia, France, Netherlands, Kenya) seeking to scrutinise platforms and platforms (Microsoft, Google) launching initiatives that help mitigate such scrutiny, or at least its effects. Cat and mouse is the phrase that comes to mind.

Welcome to new EiM subscribers from NextDoor, ABC, Paris Peace Forum, eSafety Commission, AK Vorarlberg and elsewhere.

Here's everything in moderation from the last seven days — BW


New and emerging internet policy and online speech regulation

One of the many platform safety-focused US legislative bills — The Platform Accountability and Transparency Act (PATA) — was reintroduced this week having removed a provision to revoke Section 230 protections from platforms that don't comply. Tech Policy Press report that PATA, which includes transparency requirements and researcher access, has "new bipartisan support" and support from industry orgs and non-profits. The feeling seems to be: watch this space.

One I missed last week: Australia's online regulator will not move forward with two of the eight draft codes put forward by industry associations and placed another on hold because they "fail to provide appropriate community safeguards". Industry bodies were tasked to come up with their own rules back in November 2022, then given a second chance in March but "simply don’t go far enough in protecting Australian users, particularly children," according to eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant. eSafety will now implement their own mandatory codes for these areas.

Why is this interesting? Because there are outstanding questions about industries' ability to mark their own homework and the subsequent need for government intervention (EiM #202). This will not help the case of the self-regulators.

Get access to the rest of this edition of EiM and 200+ others by becoming a paying member