Internet intermediaries should recognize and protect human rights online, including through accessible and effective complaint and redress mechanisms.
- The regulation of the media promoted equality and absence of discrimination
- A system to file complaints related to the media was available for all citizens
- The legal framework for elections included the protection of fundamental rights and made international obligations domestically binding
- Personal data controllers complied with data minimization, accuracy, confidentiality, integrity, and storage limitation obligations
- Business enterprises embraced, in policy and practice, their international and/or national human rights obligations. Accessible and effective complaint and redress mechanisms were established to protect these rights
- Intermediaries should ensure that all users and other parties affected by their actions have full and easy access to transparent information in clear and easily understandable language about applicable complaint mechanisms, the various stages of the procedure, indicative time frames and expected outcomes.
- The Assembly considers that social media companies should rethink and enhance their internal policies to uphold more firmly the rights to freedom of expression and information, promoting the diversity of sources, topics and views, as well as better quality information, while fighting effectively against the dissemination of unlawful material through their users’ profiles and countering disinformation more effectively.
- The Assembly calls on social media companies to: (...) 11.2. take an active part not only in identifying inaccurate or false content circulating through their venues but also in warning their users about such content, even when it does not qualify as illegal or harmful and is not taken down; the warning should be accompanied in the most serious cases by the blocking of the interactive functions, such as “like” or “share”; 11.3. make systematic use of a network analysis approach to identify fake accounts and bots, and develop procedures and mechanisms to exclude bot-generated messages from their “trending” content or at least flag their accounts and the messages they repost.
- Internet service providers should put in place appropriate, clear, open and efficient procedures to respond within reasonable time limits to complaints from Internet users alleging breaches of the principles included in the foregoing provisions. Internet users should have the possibility to refer the matter directly to competent authorities within each member State and be entitled to timely redress.
- In line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, intermediaries should respect the human rights of their users and affected parties in all their actions. This includes the responsibility to act in compliance with applicable laws and regulatory frameworks.
- Internet intermediaries should make available – online and offline – effective remedies and dispute resolution systems that provide prompt and direct redress in cases of user, content provider and affected party grievances.
- Online platforms should disclose their detailed content policies in their terms of service and clearly communicate this to their users. These terms should not only define the policy for removing or disabling access to content, but also spell out the safeguards that ensure that content-related measures do not lead to over-removal. In particular, online platforms' terms of service should clearly spell out any possibility for the users to contest removal decisions as part of an enhanced transparency of the platforms' general removal policies.
- Companies that hold large amounts of users’ data should develop robust and meaningfully transparent privacy policies and processes in consultation with civil society and other stakeholders, consistent with their responsibilities to respect human rights.
- Online intermediaries and digital media should implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and conduct due diligence to ensure that their products, policies and practices, including in the areas of collection of private data and microtargeting of messages, do not interfere with human rights.
- Media outlets and online platforms, as (often) powerful corporate actors, should take seriously their responsibility to respect human rights.
- Companies should recognize that the authoritative global standard for ensuring freedom of expression on their platforms is human rights law, not the varying laws of States or their own private interests, and they should re-evaluate their content standards accordingly.
- States have resorted to disproportionate measures such as Internet shutdowns and vague and overly broad laws to criminalize, block, censor and chill online speech and shrink civic space. These measures are not only incompatible with international human rights law but also contribute to amplifying misperceptions, fostering fear and entrenching public mistrust of institutions.
- State regulation of social media should focus on enforcing transparency, due process rights for users and due diligence on human rights by companies, and on ensuring that the independence and remit of the regulators are clearly defined, guaranteed and limited by law.
- Companies are obliged to respect human rights under international human rights law. Although digital platforms are private actors, they have a far-reaching impact on human rights in the public space. As such, they are accountable not only to their users but to society at large.
- Users must have proper recourse. Companies should establish internal appeals mechanisms for a broader range of content moderation decisions and types of content, such as coordinated inauthentic behaviour.
- Business enterprises should respect human rights. This means that they should avoid infringing on the human rights of others and should address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved.
- The responsibility to respect human rights requires that business enterprises: (a) Avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts through their own activities, and address such impacts when they occur; (b) Seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships, even if they have not contributed to those impacts.
- The responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights applies to all enterprises regardless of their size, sector, operational context, ownership and structure. Nevertheless, the scale and complexity of the means through which enterprises meet that responsibility may vary according to these factors and with the severity of the enterprise’s adverse human rights impacts.
- In order to meet their responsibility to respect human rights, business enterprises should have in place policies and processes appropriate to their size and circumstances, including: 15 (a) A policy commitment to meet their responsibility to respect human rights; (b) A human rights due diligence process to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their impacts on human rights; (c) Processes to enable the remediation of any adverse human rights impacts they cause or to which they contribute.
- In order to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their adverse human rights impacts, business enterprises should carry out human rights due diligence. The process should include assessing actual and potential human rights impacts, integrating and acting upon the findings, tracking responses, and communicating how impacts are addressed.
- In order to account for how they address their human rights impacts, business enterprises should be prepared to communicate this externally, particularly when concerns are raised by or on behalf of affected stakeholders. Business enterprises whose operations or operating contexts pose risks of severe human rights impacts should report formally on how they address them.
- Measures such as the adoption of corporate digital ethics codes and of self-regulatory mechanisms to solve conflicts between companies and users would also allow greater regulatory flexibility for the benefit of the interests of users and companies, while depressurising the relationship with the government and promoting co-responsibility of online behaviours.
- As part of their duty to protect against business-related human rights abuse, States must take appropriate steps to ensure, through judicial, administrative, legislative or other appropriate means, that when such abuses occur within their territory and/or jurisdiction those affected have access to effective remedy.
- Internet intermediaries should uphold the principle that human rights are protected online, and voluntary accept and apply all core international human rights and women’s rights instruments with a view to contributing to universal human rights protection and achieving the empowerment of women, and the elimination of discrimination and violence against them in digital space.
- Intermediaries should publish clear and a comprehensive contents moderation policy and human rights safeguards against arbitrary censorship, and transparent reviews and appeal processes.
- Intermediaries should ensure data security and privacy, and ensure that the use of data is in compliance with international human rights law and has the fully informed consent of data providers.
- Political campaigning undertaken by political parties, candidates and other individuals online entails responsibilities not only for governments but also for platforms and intermediaries, which should develop codes of conduct that make explicit their respect for such fundamental rights and put in place strategies for their effective enforcement in line with the respective national rules on political campaigning.
- Online platforms should, in light of their central role and capabilities and their associated responsibilities, adopt effective proactive measures to detect and remove illegal content online and not only limit themselves to reacting to notices which they receive.