Digital Legal Lab

seminar series on the dsa & dma

Digital Legal Lab researchers from all four partner universities are joining forces to address legal, regulatory and other questions around the Digital Services Act & Digital Markets Act. On this page, you can find seminar reports and updates.

Seminar 1: Social Media Content
Moderation & the Digital Services Act

April 2021
Seminar report
Written by prof. Pietro Ortolani

On Friday 9 April, a group of researchers from the Digital Legal Lab held a seminar on the topic of social media content moderation, and the future potential impact of the Digital Services Act in this field. The group started by mapping out some of the most problematic aspects in the current landscape of social media content moderation. The researchers agreed on the need for a more granular approach; while “content moderation” remains a useful general label from an Internet governance perspective, not all categories of content (and of disputes arising therefrom) are comparable, and adaptive solutions must be devised. The breadth of legal and societal issues underlying content moderation remains underexplored, and the group agreed that more research in this respect would be beneficial. Furthermore, the researchers discussed the related issue of platform liability for failure to remove unlawful content, and the links between these topics and the set of incentives that may (or may not) induce social media platforms to set up content moderation mechanisms. This interdisciplinary perspective also lends itself for future research plans, given its fascinating connection not only with economics (e.g. cost minimization problem), but also with other fields of law (inter alia, competition law and the dominant position of large platforms) and other social sciences (the power relations and fundamental rights consequences underlying content moderation). The DLS researchers will continue their work on these topics in the future.

Seminar 2: how to design effective institutions
for regulating digital platforms

May 2021
Seminar report
Written by dr. Inge Graef

On Wednesday 19 May, a second seminar in the Digital Legal Lab Seminar Series on the DSA & DMA was organized in the form of a panel discussion hosted during the TILTing Perspectives conference. Panelists were: Nataliia Bielova (Inria Sophia Antipolis), Catherine Batchelor (UK CMA), Anu Bradford (Columbia Law School) and Inge Graef (Tilburg University). The panel was moderated by Filippo Lancieri (University of Chicago Law School).

Each of the panelists provided introductory statements on the topic of how to design effective institutions for regulating digital platforms, followed by a discussion with the audience. Nataliia Bielova discussed her interdisciplinary research into online consent collection, covering questions such as how to design consent, how to make data protection enforcement scalable and possibilities to standardize consent. Catherine Batchelor commented on the current developments in the UK regarding the implementation of the new pro-competition regime to be overseen by the UK CMA’s Digital Markets Unit she is heading. She also referred to the joint statement published by the UK CMA and the ICO on the need for regulators to work together to find synergies and overcome perceived tensions between the policy objectives of competition and data protection in the digital economy. Inge Graef discussed the issue of regulatory fragmentation and how digital platforms are currently using the parallel existence of legal frameworks with different policy objectives strategically, for instance by relying on privacy protection as a justification for keeping their platforms or datasets closed. Anu Bradford added a more global perspective by comparing the different regulatory responses taken by legislators and regulators across jurisdictions and commented on the need for asymmetric regulation in certain areas, where stronger obligations are imposed on especially powerful firms. As such, the panel discussion brought up various thoughts and insights to be further explored by Digital Legal Studies researchers in the future.