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The ubiquitous adoption of social media has facilitated the distribution of harmful content such as hate speech and disinformation. The reluctance of social media companies to handle harmful content and the lack of transparency in their moderation policies have led to calls for regulation of social media platforms. However, the design and enforcement of social media regulation present critical difficulties for policymakers, including limited access to data, statistics, metrics, and algorithms; lack of tools for predicting the impact and unintended consequences of specific regulations; and diverse contexts of different countries.
The CARISMA project will establish a clear, traceable, and replicable methodology to craft policy recommendations that effectively mitigate the harms of social media actors responsible for abusive and illicit behaviors. Inputs from media policy and governance research will be used to formulate a set of policy alternatives that are expected to produce effective solutions for the mitigation of online harm. Computational social science methodologies will in turn model the effects of moderation policies and quantify their impact.
CARISMA will generate policy recommendations and quantitative evidence to classify regulatory policies and assess their expected impact within the information ecosystem. This will form the basis, for platforms and regulators of any country, to react in a timely fashion to social media misuse by crafting effective and transparent policy interventions.
CARISMA is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation(SNSF) under the Sinergia Funding Scheme.
Silvia Giordano, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland - SUPSI, Thermo-Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Department of Innovative Technologies
Natascha Just, University of Zurich, Department of Communication and Media Research, Media & Internet Governance Division
Filippo Menczer, Indiana University, Luddy School of Informatics, Observatory on Social Media
Running time: January 2023 to December 2026.
Internet platforms increasingly act as intermediaries and gateways to opinion-forming content. Due to their intermediary functions and market power in many areas of importance to social communication, they are ascribed a high potential for influencing and endangering public-opinion formation. This raises new questions about the control of opinion power and media concentration in platform markets.
This project comparatively examines media-concentration and opinion-power control in six countries (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, UK, USA, Italy). It gives an overview of selected approaches to the control of market power and opinion power in the communications sector. This shows what strategies and approaches are being pursued in different countries and what political importance is attached to regulating media concentration in times of platformization.
The results are available as downloads (German only).
Final report and executive summary:
Executive summary of final report (PDF, 487 KB)
Interim report and executive summary:
Executive summary of interim report (PDF, 349 KB)
The report was produced as part of the project «Messung von Meinungsmacht und Vielfalt im Internet: Pilotprojekt zur publizistischen Konzentrationskontrolle», which is funded by the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt).
Running time: February 2021 to Februrary 2022.