Lab Platform Governance, Media and Technology (PGMT)

New book by Dennis Redeker (PGMT) and colleagues: “The Content Governance Dilemma”

In July 2023, PGMT member Dr. Dennis Redeker – together with Dr. Edoardo Celeste (Dublin City University), Dr. Nicola Palladino (Trinity College Dublin) and Dr. Kinfe Yilma (Addis Ababa University) – published a new book with Palgrave Macmillan. “The Content Governance Dilemma: Digital Constitutionalism, Social Media and the Search for a Global Standard” can be ordered now or accessed as an Open Access (OA) publication here. The book critically engages with some of the toughest questions platforms face when deciding, which standards to adopt for content moderation.

What is the content governance dilemma? To date, no single human rights standard exists across all social media platforms, allowing private companies to set their own rules, values and parameters. On the one hand, this normative autonomy raises serious concerns, primarily around whether companies should be permitted to establish the rules governing free speech online. On the other hand, if social media platforms simply adopted international law standards, they would be compelled to operate a choice on which model to follow, and put in place mechanisms to uphold these general standards.

This book examines this topic from a multidisciplinary perspective, drawing from the expertise of the authors in law, political science and communication studies. It provides a carefully reconstructed theory of the content governance dilemma, as well as pragmatic solutions for companies and policymakers. In this way, the book not only benefits academics by advancing the debate on content moderation issues, but also informs new policies and regulatory strategies by offering an up-to-date overview of rules and tools for content moderation, as well as an evaluation of their current level of compliance with standards emerged in international human rights law and digital constitutionalism initiatives.

The initial idea for this research project had been developed in December 2019 during a meeting of the “Digital Constitutionalism Network” hosted and funded by the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) in Bochum, Germany. The research was then conducted with a grant provided by Facebook Research for a project entitled “Digital Constitutionalism: In Search of a Content Governance Standard”. The book has been published as an Open Access publication supported by a grant provided to Edoardo Celeste and Dennis Redeker by CAIS.