How do digital citizenship and digital rights impact and shape human rights protection mechanisms and practices in contemporary society?

With the promotion of digital transformation, digital citizenship and digital rights continue to change and expand. Freer speech channels, more diverse social platforms, more complex restrictions and broader information content have all affected human rights in the digital world. Specifically, digital citizenship and digital rights under digital transformation have both positive effects on human rights protection mechanisms and practices in contemporary society, and also bring negative impacts such as risks and dangers.

Understanding information: The simultaneous impact of free access and disinformation

The identity of digital citizens provides a channel for users to understand digital information, which is very important for safeguarding human rights. In this process, individual digital citizens can freely search for relevant information and content, and complete the transmission of information within a reasonable digital range.

Your Digital Rights and Responsibilities| Being a Good Digital Citizen on Youtube

It should be noted that different users have large differences in their ability to identify fake news on Facebook, which may be related to fake news self-efficacy (that is, confidence in their ability to identify incorrect current affairs information on Facebook) (Hope , 2021).

As a digital citizen, you can express your personal opinions on the Internet relatively without interference from others. However, the channels provided by digital citizenship and digital rights for people are not limited to publishing content. It can realize the interoperability and exchange of information. In this process people can not only express their personal opinions, but also ask each other to respond,

Among them, the most typical content is the use of digital platforms to hold the government accountable. People can understand their human rights through this channel, and investigate violations of human rights and ask the government to respond or promote legal reforms. In this From a digital perspective, digital citizenship and digital rights provide feedback channels for human rights protection in contemporary society.

During a recent investigation, users were horrified to discover that big data may push different content based on the gender of a digital citizen, causing users to misunderstand. This situation has greatly harmed the user’s human rights. And before the user realizes it, a kind of discrimination or interference has already been formed.

For example, on a video about a family dispute, male users saw comments that were more supportive of men, while female users saw comments that supported a female perspective. After discovering this difference, they were surprised to discuss it.

The essence of this kind of comment content that appears based on the user’s gender or preference is not to protect human rights or impart fairness of information, but to have a subtle impact in this way, so as to achieve the commercial purpose of software use.

The push of incorrect information can also have adverse effects. Fake news is already prevalent on current online social media platforms (Buckmaster, 2020).

Large-scale political events such as the U.S. presidential election are also frequently adversely affected by fake news. Among them, some propagandists will even deliberately publish misleading propaganda elements to mislead the audience to achieve their personal goals (Ali & Zain-ul-abdin, 2021, p. 109).

Fake News is A Real Problem” by Statista is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.

In addition, other false information also appears frequently, especially the release and spread of false information about COVID-19. For example, Clayon (2021) and Hayawi (2022, p. 23) pointed out that when government departments recommended vaccination, some anti-vaxxers appeared on the Internet, and the false statements they published have had a huge impact. Clayon (2021) quoted Biden’s statement and pointed out that the posting of COVID-19 and related false information on Facebook will cause users to misunderstand.

COVID-19 No More Lockdowns Protest in Vancouver” by CoToVan is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Anti-vaccine protesters shouted and waved signs at health care workers in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday as they entered Raymond James Stadium to watch the Super Bowl.Credit…Zack Wittman for The New York Times

It is worth noting that, unlike false information released for political purposes, false information about COVID-19 is influenced by altruistic factors (Apuke & Omar, 2021, p. 4), but it also has other hidden purposes (such as Creators in the entertainment and sharing categories hope to gain higher attention through this hot spot), which has further aggravated the proliferation and spread of false information (Apuke & Omar, 2021, p. 8).

In addition, the use and exercise of digital citizenship relies on social media platforms or digital platforms, so people’s use will be restricted by the algorithms and recommendations of these platforms. Generally speaking, in the current push mechanism, the system will push the user’s favorites or preferences content, and after users browse or comment on it, the system’s tags for users will strengthen the preference for this type of content, resulting in repeated push and the spread of similar messages. This kind of experience that continuously extends and develops in areas of interest will make users get lost in the digital world and form an information cocoon.

Participation in activities: Is the behavior of digital citizens truly personal?

Individuals with digital citizenship can not only exercise their personal digital rights to participate in online activities through these credentials, but also use online communication channels as a medium of communication to participate in more different types of activities and obtain positive feedback, especially Communication for political purposes has also begun to utilize digital technology and social networks (Buckmaster, 2020). For example, during the U.S. presidential election, Internet campaigning and support acquisition gained the attention of many candidates and played an important role in guiding social public opinion.

Digital Citizenship | Things Explained on Youtube

The new generation of media technologies provides support for widespread public participation (Carpentier, 2007, p. 105). However, this right for people to participate is not only beneficial to the protection of human rights (Carpentier, 2007, p. 106). This kind of participation continues to develop and is no longer limited to the expression of personal opinions. Participation has also become a mode of influencing activities (Carpentier, 2007, pp. 106-107). This may be due to the fact that it is difficult to avoid taking a stance in the process of participation (Carpentier, 2007, p.109).

The existence of “intermediaries” reduces the purity and transparency of personal participation. Participants may be affected by the “intermediaries” unconsciously, and digital technology has also become an “accomplice” of these bad intermediaries in infringing on citizens’ human rights (Carpentier, 2007 , p. 111).

In the Battleground States, Trump’s Got a Problem: Women” by Ms. Magazine  is licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

Political misinformation has the potential to change election outcomes

According to the four (semi-) participatory media organization forms proposed by Carpentier (2007, pp. 113-115), it can be found that citizens in the digital world are affected by information all the time. This impact is not only the protection of human rights (access to information) , is also a potential violation of human rights (obtaining false information).

Those involved are aware that the role of digital citizenship and digital rights has implications for human rights (Karppinen, 2017, p. 95). Digital transformation is a double-edged sword for human rights. Although it can promote progress in freedom of speech, access to information, cultural and social development, and privacy protection (Karppinen, 2017, p. 95), it will also be affected by the lack of supervision and restrictions. Danger may arise under certain circumstances, such as false information, false misleading, etc. (Karppinen, 2017, p. 96).

As Karppinen (2017, p. 101) proposed, digital rights are closely related to politics, ideology, and the expression of interests. Human rights have a fixed framework, but there is still a lack of normativeness in the process of digital transformation, resulting in digital citizenship and digital Rights have complex implications for human rights and continue to change. Taken together, digital citizenship and digital rights are changing human rights protection mechanisms and practices through participation, and are full of opportunities and risks (Carpentier, 2007, p. 119). .

It needs to be clear that digital citizenship and digital rights bring more than just benefits to people’s lives. In the process, negative impacts caused by regulatory loopholes and technical defects are widespread, especially when different stakeholders seek to obtain their own interests. The actions taken may even lead to information bias invisibly, which is not conducive to the implementation of human rights protection.


Ali, K., & Zain-ul-abdin, K. (2021). Post-truth propaganda: heuristic processing of political fake news on Facebook during the 2016 US presidential election. Journal of Applied Communication Research49(1), 109-128.

Apuke, O. D., & Omar, B. (2021). Fake news and COVID-19: modelling the predictors of fake news sharing among social media users. Telematics and Informatics56, 1-13.

Buckmaster, L, Wils, T. (2020) Responding to fake news. n Parliamentary Library Briefing Book: Keyissues for the 46th Parliament. 18-23. Commonwealth of Australia. binary/6801783.pdf

Carpentier, N. (2007). Theoretical frameworks for participatory media. Media technologies and democracy in an enlarged Europe, 105-122.

Clayton,J. (2021). Covid misinformation on Facebook is killing people – Biden. BBC News.

Hayawi, K., Shahriar, S, Serhani, M. A, Taleb, l., & Mathew, S. S.(2022). ANTi-Vax: a novel Twitterdataset for COVID-19 vaccine misinformation detection. Public health, 203, 23-30.

Hopp, T. (2021). Fake news self-efficacy, fake news identification, and content sharing on Facebook. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print), 1-24.

Karppinen, K. (2017). Human rights and the digital. The Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights (Tumber, H., & Waisbord, S. (Eds.)). 95-103.

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