To coincide with the Digital Services Act (DSA) becoming directly applicable across the EU on 17 February 2024, the DSA Observatory at the Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam, will hold a two-day conference on ‘The DSA and Platform Regulation’ at the Amsterdam Law School on 15-16 February 2024.
The DSA is the EU’s landmark piece of legislation for addressing illegal and harmful content and activity, and protecting fundamental rights online. The DSA becoming fully applicable marks the end of a years-long drafting and negotiation process and opens a new chapter: that of its enforcement, practicable access to justice, and potential to set global standards. While the DSA extends the e-Commerce Directive’s core principles for the regulation of online services that handle third-party content and codifies existing self-regulatory practices initiated by online platforms, it also introduces significant legal innovations for the regulation of platforms in democratic states: a tiered system of due diligence obligations for intermediary services, the regulation of content moderation through terms of service enforcement, systemic risk assessment obligations for the most widely used platforms and search engines, and access to data for researchers.
With the DSA, the EU aims once again to set a global standard in the regulation of the digital environment. The purpose of this conference is to critically discuss the capacities of the DSA to deliver a meaningful new chapter in platform regulation. In particular, the conference organising committee invites paper abstracts reflecting on one of more the following themes:
- The challenges of realising meaningful transparency and accountability in platform governance;
- The feasibility and operationalisation of the risk-based approach in the regulation of content moderation, including systemic risk definitions, methods for risk assessments and questions of forward-looking responsibility;
- The DSA’s value in offering new sources of data for platform governance research (includes researcher access provision); more broadly: the degree to which the DSA succeeds in empowering academics, fact checkers, civil society, journalists and other critical observers in playing a role in platform governance;
- Access to justice issues for online harms and dispute resolution (new procedures and the functioning of those procedures);
- Effective approaches to the problem of disinformation;
- Definition(s) of unlawful content and its implementation by member states;
- Enforcement authorities’ positioning in the broader landscape; their independence, expertise makeup, interactions and interfaces with other regulators, industry stakeholders, research institutions and civil society organisations;
- Relation between the DSA, media regulation, and fundamental rights/constitutional settings, and other relevant pieces of regulation, including the European Media Freedom Act, Audiovisual Media Services Directive, and Transparency of Political Advertising Regulation;
- The impact of the DSA beyond Europe;
- DSA-induced power shifts between the private and public sector, within the private sector, and in relation to civil society;
Abstracts should be between 500-800 words, and submitted through Oxford Abstracts here. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 September 2023 (23.59 CEST). Please note that abstracts should not be submitted anonymously and will be reviewed by the organising committee. Abstracts will be selected based on quality and potential to trigger high-level discussion on the conference’s themes. Authors will be notified of acceptance by 15 October 2023. Accepted authors will be invited to present their work (15-minute presentations) on the first day of the conference. Certain selected authors may also be invited to participate in panel discussions on the second day of the conference. We do not require accepted authors to submit full papers by the time of the conference, although it is encouraged.
Deadline for abstracts: 15 September 2023, by 23.59 (CEST)
Notifications of acceptance: 15 October 2023
Conference: 15-16 February 2024
Registration and venue
Participation in the conference is free of charge, and registration will open in October 2023. The conference will be held in-person at the Amsterdam Law School (Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV Amsterdam) on 15-16 February 2024. Participants and presenters will need to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.
About the conference
The conference is jointly-organised by the DSA Observatory, the Institute for Information Law (IViR), the Digital Transformation of Decision-Making research initiative at the Amsterdam Law School, and the Digital Legal Lab interdisciplinary research collaboration between the law schools of the University of Amsterdam, Tilburg University, Radboud University and Maastricht University.
Conference Organising Committee
Ronan Fahy, University of Amsterdam
Joris van Hoboken, University of Amsterdam
Paddy Leerssen, University of Amsterdam
Ilaria Buri, University of Amsterdam
João Pedro Quintais, University of Amsterdam
Natali Helberger, University of Amsterdam