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The Sanitised Platform

Abstract : Feminist legal scholar Vicki Schultz argues that US law on sexual harassment has created a "sanitised workplace", by encouraging employers to suppress any kind of sexual behaviour, while ignoring broader issues around gender equality. This paper employs Schultz's concept of sanitisation as a frame to critique current trends in European social media regulation, focusing on the 2019 Copyright Directive, 2021 Terrorist Content Regulation and the Digital Services Act proposed in 2020. EU law incentivises the deletion of various broadly-defined types of illegal content, which is also likely to suppress large amounts of legal and harmless content. Evidence of how social media platforms moderate content suggests that this over-enforcement will disproportionately suppress marginalised users and non-mainstream viewpoints, while increasing the influence of platforms' commercial goals on online communications. Yet at the same time, by focusing primarily on content (i.e. individual posts and uploads) over broader contextual and design factors, European regulation fails to effectively address many social harms associated with major social media platforms. Schultz's approach not only draws our attention to these failings, but provides theoretical insights as to how private ordering heightens these problems, enforces dominant discourse norms and subordinates online communication to commercial priorities.
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https://hal-sciencespo.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03586779
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Submitted on : Thursday, February 24, 2022 - 10:26:34 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 27, 2022 - 2:29:41 PM

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Rachel Griffin. The Sanitised Platform. JIPITEC - Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and E-Commerce Law, Göttinger Verein zur Förderung des internationalen und nationalen Wirtschafts- und Medienrechts e.V., 2022, 1 (13), pp.36-52. ⟨10.2139/ssrn.4007098⟩. ⟨hal-03586779⟩

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