Agenda: Workshop on the role of social media and internet companies in responding to violent online extremism

The workshop format is designed to encourage dialogue and debate. In order to do so, each session will begin with 3-4 participants offering opening remarks of approximately 10 minutes to help frame the discussion, overview current policy or practice, offer a specific case study or example, present recent research findings, outline a current advocacy campaign or issue focus, or raise questions for discussion. To encourage openness and the sharing of information, the Chatham House Rule will be in effect throughout the Workshop.

Thursday, 5 March

9:00                  Welcome and introductions

9:15 – 10:40   Violent extremism after Charlie, framing the discussion

What are the current debates around violent online extremism and social media? What new challenges and policy pressures have emerged since Paris? How can we better understand the current debates and impasses? Should there be more or less responding to extremism online? What is at stake?

Contributions: Phil Howard (CEU), Maura Conway (Dublin City University), Representative of An Garda Síochána, Adam Drew (Royal Holloway)

Moderator: Kate Coyer (CEU)

10:40-11:00   Coffee Break

11:00-12:45   Human rights law, accountability and extremist content

What is the relevance of human rights and international law approaches for how social media companies respond to violent extremism online? What is the impact of recent European Court of Human Rights rulings, and other decisions, for guiding or instructing social media companies in their responses to extremism online?

Contributions: Sejal Parmar (CEU), Antoine de Buyse (Utrecht University), Joan Barata Mir (OSCE), Martin Husovec (Max Planck)

Moderator: Richard Danbury (Cambridge)

12:45–13:45   Lunch

13:45–15:30   Intermediary liability, jurisdiction and extremist content

How does intermediary liability pose specific challenges for social media company responses to violent extremism and protecting freedom of expression? How can we address the challenges of the cross-border nature of the internet vis-à-vis national jurisdictions? How do standards of free expression apply when governments regulate intermediary actors?  What distinguishes state policy from the terms of service agreements of social media companies?

Contributions: Bertrand de La Chapelle (Internet & Jurisdiction Project), Elonnai Hickok (Center for Internet and Society), Eva Simon (HCLU), Paddy Leerssen (University of Amsterdam)

Moderator: Kirsten Gollatz (Humboldt)

15:30–16:00   Coffee break

16:00–17:45   Content removal, blocking and filtering of extremist content

What are the challenges and changes to policy and practice of content removal since the attacks in Paris? Are there new pressures on internet and media companies to remove, block or filter content? What are the editorial policies and terms of service? How does law enforcement and social media companies work together? What has been the response from users and freedom of expression advocates?

Contributions:Gabriella Cseh (Facebook) Gregory Asmolov (LSE), Gill Phillips (The Guardian)

Moderator: Rebecca MacKinnon (New America)

Friday, 6 March

9:00–10:45    Corporate responsibility and extremist content

To what extent do human rights principles (Ruggie, etc) drive policy and practice regarding extremist content online? What are the challenges in practice with the application of such principles? Are there other frameworks of corporate social responsibility that apply? What are the limits of transparency reporting as a response to disclosure and openness?

Contributions: Sarah Fischer (LSE), Andrea Calderaro (Humboldt), Lucy Purdon (Institute for Human Rights and Business)

Moderator: Rikke Frank-Jorgensen (Danish Institute for Human Rights)

10:45–11:00   Coffee break

11:00–13:00   Balancing security, privacy and freedom of expression online

What measures are being taken to protect online freedoms in light of violent extremism? How can we resolve the polarising dynamic of privacy versus security online in an environment of heightened concerns over violent extremism?  How does civil society engage governments seeking greater oversight by internet companies? Are there good practices regarding policy at the state or corporate level that should be promoted?

Contributions: Rebecca MacKinnon (New America), Jim Killock (Open Rights Group), Ben Wagner (European University Viadrina), Maryant Fernandez (European Digital Rights)   

Moderator: Allon Bar (Ranking Digital Rights) and Kate Coyer (CEU)

13:00–13:30  Recommendations, wrap up, next steps

13:30                 Lunch

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