The webinar “The Fake News Bill: the challenge of regulating social networks” marked the publication of the study “Regulation of digital platforms: a contribution to the analysis of the national debate in the context of a global challenge”, published by the Department of Public Policy Analysis of Fundação Getúlio Vargas. In partnership with Projeto *desinformante and Instituto Legal Grounds, the event included the participation of Alexandra Geese, member of the European Parliament; congressman Orlando Silva; Professor Ricardo Campos of Goethe Universität Frankfurt; and the activist for the Network Rights Coalition (Coalizão Direitos na Rede), Bruna Martins dos Santos.
FGV DAPP coordinator Amaro Grassi started the event by presenting the main findings of the study. He highlighted the predominance of right-wing groups in the debate on platform regulation on Twitter, emphasizing their criticism of Bill No. 2630, known as the Fake News Bill, which deals with the Brazilian Law of Freedom, Responsibility and Transparency on the Internet. Afterwards, the panel moderator João Brant, of Projeto *desinformante, introduced the participants and started the debate.
Alexandra Geese was the first speaker. She addressed some aspects of the Digital Services Act, whose final text is about to be voted on by the European Parliament. She said that one of the objectives of this legislation is to overcome the arbitrariness of platforms, and that this new mandate has the challenge of regulating big tech in countries whose national legislation is different. Next, congressman Orlando Silva highlighted topics related to Bill No. 2630, such as the mandatory transparency of platforms regarding rules and operation for activities that do not compromise industrial secrecy. In addition, he addressed the need for review teams in content moderation processes, expressing the diversity of the Brazilian context in their constitution in contrast with the fact that the major platforms are global companies.
Professor Ricardo Campos emphasized the similarities between Bill No. 2630 in Brazil and the Digital Services Act in Europe. He explained that both move away from the initial model of legislation inaugurated in the United States in the mid-1990s, based on the immunity of technology companies. According to him, there is a movement from an immunity model to a model of internalization of obligations, especially regarding transparency. The fourth speaker, Bruna Martins dos Santos, spoke about the importance of observing social contexts to understand the goals and effects of regulating digital platforms. She gave the example of the Brazilian scenario during the 2018 election campaign, where the lack of regulation favored the circulation of disinformation and hate speech.
Both the study on regulation and the webinar are part of the activities that make up the Digitalization and Democracy project in Brazil, carried out by FGV DAPP in partnership with the German Embassy in Brasília.