In the rush to regulate dominant social media platforms, fundamental rights are being overlooked. As Pierre François Docquir and Maria Luisa Stasi write, there is still time to salvage media diversity, but policy makers will need a toolbox of solutions.
Major social media platforms have empowered individuals who were previously unable to make their ideas visible on a large scale. They have dramatically altered the advertising markets by directly serving news to users to the detriment of media brands — thereby diverting an important source of income from news media. They have built users’ profiles through the accumulation of traces of online navigation and drawn them in targeted advertising. And they have accelerated the dissemination of various kinds of harmful content such as hate speech and disinformation. As a result, policy makers everywhere are working in haste to effectively regulate the digital leviathans — but in the rush, the protection of fundamental rights is at risk of being overlooked.
This classic theme of media policy — the protection of pluralism and diversity — warrants exploration in the context of the current media landscape revolution, and it requires a whole toolbox of solutions.