22 Apr

PhD Defence Valentina Golunova

Supervisors: Prof. dr. Bruno De Witte, Prof. dr. Marta Pertegás Sender

Keywords: Content moderation; algorithms; online platforms; freedom of expression

"Silenced by Default: Algorithmic Content Moderation and Freedom of Expression in the European Union"

This thesis has examined how the use of algorithms for the detection of illegal or harmful content on online platforms affects the freedom of expression of EU citizens. Algorithmic content moderation is often hailed as an innovative solution to the problem of violative activity in the digital environment. The EU actively encourages online platforms to develop and deploy automated tools for addressing illegal material uploaded by their users. However, the excessive reliance on these tools can undermine the quality and diversity of public discourse online, silencing traditionally marginalized voices. Although the EU has recently adopted ambitious pieces of legislation regulating the market of digital services and AI systems, none of them comprehensively addresses the threats to freedom of expression posed by algorithmic content moderation. This thesis outlines a potential future regulatory framework that would ensure the responsible use of automated tools in content moderation.

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