No Digital Tomorrow for Europe without Ending Cyber Violences

 

According to the last Eurobarometer survey “Illegal Content Online”, the current rate of cyberviolence is unacceptably growing. Although social networks were initially developed to connect European citizens, particularly the youth, the survey reports, 25 million instances of online hate speech make social networks intolerable. The survey also reports that 61% of Internet users in Europe have been aware of online hate content, threats to personal integrity, destructive fake news or disinformation, and cyberharassment, at least once. Online violence is rampant and unacceptable.

The European Commission is about to publish its draft of the Digital Services Act (DSA). We have to ask ourselves: “Is the European Commission ready to truly recognise this ordeal and take concrete and effective measures to end it?”

The DSA is an opportunity to legally address the challenge of tackling online hate and its perpetrators. Online hate is a threat to Europe’s democratic values.

We have been too slow to focus our gaze towards the proliferation of hate content, and to affirm the importance of effective moderation, as well as to minimise the harmful effects of this digital pollutant. 

As an association with the objective of preventing online hate and violence and aiding the victims of such, we are united in our appeal for financial, technical and legal resources commensurate with the growing plague of cyberviolence, as well as for increased involvement of digital stakeholders with a commitment to prevention and increased responsibility. 

Therefore, we ask the European Commission to take into consideration the following essential proposals to build the digital Europe of the future. 

 

In particular, we call for the establishment of the following 10 pilar proposals:

 

  1. To proclaim the right to digital respect and dignity for every European citizen.
  2. To require digital  platforms to display a single report button which helps explaining every citizen its online rights.
  3. To reinforce the obligation of digital platforms to provide information on the presentation of moderation rules, victims’ rights, support mechanisms, etc., and to adapt this information for the use of minors.  
  4. To require on digital platforms online training for all minor subscribers (telephony or internet connection), including the creation of an online profile created by, created for, or concerning any minor. 
  5. To require digital platforms at local member states level to act on reports of illegal content within 24 hours of reporting.
  6. To reinforce the obligation of transparency by all digital platforms by requiring an annual moderation report which shall include, but is not limited to its moderation activities, means implemented, and the results obtained through the implementation of specific measures and objectives.
  7. To require digital platforms containing adult content to verify the age of its users (18 years old) prior to accessing content,  connecting to or subscribing to services.
  8. To invite operators to develop a default system of “respect by design” of digital rights and freedoms in all stages of production from the development stage up to implementation, including its business practices.
  9. To levy a “cyber-violence/respect tax” for major digital platforms to finance stakeholders in the fight against online hate in each Member State.
  10. To provide for deterrent sanctions for violations of any future rules or Regulation, the enforcement of which will be delegated to a competent national authority under the supervision of the judicial authority.

There is still time to rebuild a humane, respectful and beneficial digital world for future generations. 

Signatories : 

 Respect Zone, Latvian Centre for Human Rights, Romea, Caméléon France,  Association HUGO,  #JeSuisLà, Association des Jeunes Chinois de France, ACVS 49, Cyberbullying.pt

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