Platform censorship has emerged as a critical and contentious issue in the digital age, where online platforms play a pivotal role in shaping public discourse. This abstract provides an overview of the multifaceted challenges and implications associated with platform censorship. It explores the motivations behind content moderation, including the prevention of hate speech, misinformation, and the protection of user safety. However, it also delves into the concerns surrounding the power vested in platforms to determine what content is permissible, raising questions about free speech, bias, and accountability. This abstract highlight the ongoing debates, policy developments, and technological innovations aimed at striking a delicate balance between maintaining a safe digital environment and preserving fundamental principles of free expression in the digital era.
China’s Internet Censors Try a New Trick: Revealing Users’ Locations
The rapidly expanding practice, which the government says helps combat disinformation from abroad, has fueled a whole new type of online battle. Many people think they are leaking personal information without their consent when the platform shows their location. Others have pointed out the hypocrisy of the practice, since celebrities, government accounts, and the chief executive of Weibo have all been exempted from the location tags.
A new era for online platform regulation: the Digital Markets Act took effect in May 2023
This article primarily discusses the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which came into force on November 1, 2022, and started applying from May 2, 2023. The legislation aims to ensure competitiveness and fairness in the online platform market, especially for those enterprises that provide “core platform services.”
The scope of DMA mainly targets “gatekeepers,” which include companies that offer core platform services like web browsers, operating systems, or online search engines. To be classified as a gatekeeper, a company must meet three criteria: (1) have a significant impact on the internal market; (2) serve as an important gateway for businesses to reach end users; and (3) enjoy a durable and entrenched market position.
The DMA provides these gatekeepers with a series of new ex-ante rules, which include both dos and don’ts. For example, they must allow users to install third-party applications and are prohibited from combining personal data from various platform services without explicit consent from the end user.
For the competitors of these gatekeepers, the DMA offers several key new opportunities:
- Access to data generated through the use of the gatekeeper’s platform.
- The ability to promote products and conclude contracts with customers outside the gatekeeper’s platform.
- The right to report violations of the DMA by gatekeepers to competition authorities.
The introduction of this legislation signifies that online platforms, particularly large tech companies like GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon), need to adjust their business models to comply with new regulations, or else they face the risk of fines and reputational damage.
Overall, the DMA has significant implications for the digital sector within the European Union. It aims to break the market monopoly held by a small number of large tech companies, offering a more equitable and competitive market environment.
Further tightening: CCA promises to further strengthen regulation of the Car Shipping platform
The Chinese government has always been considered one of the countries most concerned about platform regulation. China Consumers Association (CCA) recently stated that it will carry out social supervision on the standardized management of ride hailing aggregation platforms from several aspects.The aggregation platform does not directly set up transportation capacity, but provides “matchmaking” services for passengers and ride hailing platform companies. This operating model has caused many problems since its application, mainly focusing on the difficulty of user rights protection.CCA first focuses on the “responsibility of the compaction network ride hailing aggregation platform”. The regulatory aspects they proposed cover many aspects: ride hailing platform companies have direct management and verification responsibilities for drivers and vehicles, and should be the first responsible person; Make good use of the first inquiry responsibility system to avoid shifting blame and disputes, and reduce the cost of consumer rights protection. In addition to stricter regulatory measures, CCA also requires ride hailing aggregation platforms and partner companies to implement network security measures, strictly protect and manage data security, and take effective measures to prevent personal information leakage, damage, and loss.In addition to the issue of responsibility allocation, pricing has also received much attention. As a key intermediary connecting passengers and drivers, the ride hailing aggregation platform directly manages dispatch, pricing, and service fees, and charges fees from both parties. Therefore, the China Consumers Association has proposed that ride hailing aggregation platforms and cooperative ride hailing platform companies should ensure that they clearly state price requirements and not disrupt market order through improper pricing behavior.
By Zhenbo Yang，Yewen Liu，Yijia Zou，Dark Yuan，Xianze Yao
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