Challenges for social media: Misinformation, free speech, civic engagement, and data regulations

DePaula, Nic; Fietkiewicz, Kaja J.; Froehlich, Thomas J.; Million, A. J.; Dorsch, Isabelle; Ilhan, Aylin
Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology

Social media has arguably brought one of the greatest changes to Internet communication since the invention of the Web but challenges as well. Apart from helping people to have access and to exchange information, social media has also been used to spread misinformation, hate speech, and the user-generated data is adopted for targeted commercial and political advertising based on personal profiles. Moreover, the most popular applications available are owned by a small number of companies who may have an undue influence on how civic engagement takes place on their platforms. In this panel, four panelists will discuss the following: misinformation and the role of pseudo-cognitive authorities; hate speech and Germany’s Network Enforcement Act (NetzGD); civic engagement and market capture by social media companies; and finally, personal data processing and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We intend to raise interesting questions helping to understand these issues, and to find solutions for the beneficial use of information technologies as well as to scope out all its advantages.