Group Proposes Regulating Internet Hate Speech Through Decentralisation 01/11/2018 by David Branigan, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)French advocacy group La Quadrature du Net has declared recent French government plans to regulate internet hate speech insufficient, and is calling for more in-depth reforms. These could include the promotion of alternative social media platforms and a decentralised approach to regulation, according to an organisation press release. The French government report [FR] detailing these regulatory plans was released last month, and translates as “Strengthening the fight against racism and antisemitism on the Internet,” the release states. The report specifically aims to address the “perverted connection between hate speech and advertising,” explaining that “people who write offensive or extremist remarks are the ‘money makers’, because one of them can cause fifty or a hundred others. From this perspective, it is valuable for these networks to host and disseminate this kind of speech,” says the report, according to the release. To neutralize the profitability of hate speech, “the government wants to reinforce the obligations imposed on these platforms: more transparency and vigilance duty,” the release says, arguing that “this solution will never be sufficient enough to counter the abuses caused by the profitability of hate speech.” “It is unrealistic to think, as the report does, that we could solve this issue with a judge behind every defamation or insult written on the Internet,” it states. “There are way too many of them.” Promoting Alternatives to the “Web Giants” While La Quadrature du Net agrees that this is a problem, the group says in the release that in order to really address this, “we must question the whole idea of the attention economy. To do so, we need to seek and promote healthy alternatives to the GAFAM [Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft].” In order for alternative hosting providers to emerge, La Quadrature du Net argues that they must not be subject to the same strict regulations as the “web giants.” The application of such strict regulations, the release explains, would further suppress the potential for these alternatives to emerge. To address this, La Quadrature du Net proposes the following regulatory alternatives: “First, hosting providers must not be placed under the same obligations than the Web giants who control and regulate information for their benefit. Secondly, these hosting providers, that do not benefit from putting forward a content, will no longer have to assess a content to decide if it is ‘manifestly illegal’ or not.” Decentralised Regulation La Quadrature du Net ultimately calls for establishing a “virtuous cycle of decentralised regulation.” By promoting the development of new social media hosting platforms and a decentralised social networking protocol to connect them, “each person chooses the website or platform that suits … [their] needs and desires,” and this “gives hope for an efficient auto-regulation, in the hands of the whole population,” according to the release. This “will allow an infinity of hosting providers to communicate with each other, according to their own rules. It will also allow each person to move freely to one provider to another, from one set of rules to another (and Web giants are doing everything they can to prevent such a possibility),” it says. “If the government wants to regulate the Web … [it] must not limit itself to impose more obligations on the Web giants. To provide an in-depth reform,” the release concludes, “the government has to be constructive and encourage the development of the decentralised regulation.” La Quadrature du Net “defends the rights and freedom of citizens on the Internet,” according to its website. “More specifically, it advocates for the adaptation of French and European legislation to the founding principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of knowledge.” Image Credits: La Quadrature du Net Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related David Branigan may be reached at email@example.com."Group Proposes Regulating Internet Hate Speech Through Decentralisation" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.