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Constitutional Protection of Freedom of Expression in the Age of Social Media: A Comparative Study
Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Juridiska fakulteten, Juridiska institutionen.
2024 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, monografi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Fritextbeskrivning
Abstract [en]

Social media platforms are increasingly important arenas for communication in today’s society. These platforms can both enable and restrict their users’ exercise of free speech. The right to freedom of expression has traditionally protected individuals against state interference. However, the most popular social media platforms are owned by private companies, which creates new challenges for the constitutional protection of freedom of expression. This study examines how constitutional free speech rights have been adapted and should be adapted to the new communicative landscape dominated by social media.

A comparative study of the adaption of constitutional free speech guarantees to social media in the US, Sweden and Germany is carried out. Relevant European law (European Convention on Human Rights and European Union law) is also included in the comparison. Four dimensions of the exercise of free speech on social media are compared. Firstly, social media users' and platforms' free speech rights are studied. Secondly, it is analysed whether constitutional free speech rights can be applied to relationships between private social media platforms and their users (horizontal effect). Thirdly, the state’s potential positive obligations to protect users' freedom of expression against social media companies are examined. Finally, laws regulating the effects of social media platforms on free speech exercise are addressed, including the Digital Services Act adopted by the European Union.

Through the comparative analysis, different constitutional law mechanisms that allow freedom of expression to impact relationships between private social media platforms and their users are identified. Constitutional free speech guarantees can affect the activities of social media platforms through the horizontal effect of constitutional rights or the state’s positive obligations. Even without horizontal effect and positive obligations, the constitutional free speech law may allow the state to regulate platforms’ power over free speech through ordinary laws. It is argued that regardless of which of these constitutional law mechanisms is used, it is necessary to balance competing free speech interests of speakers, audience, platforms and society against each other. Guidelines for weighing the various free speech interests against each other are presented in the last chapter of the dissertation. It is suggested, among other things, that democracy should be chosen as the guiding free speech value for such a balancing exercise.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Uppsala: Department of Law, Uppsala University , 2024. , s. 540
Nyckelord [en]
comparative constitutional law, constitutional law, content moderation, Digital Services Act, Facebook, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, free speech, horizontal effect, non-domination, positive obligations, republicanism, social media, Twitter, X
Nationell ämneskategori
Juridik (exklusive juridik och samhälle)
Forskningsämne
Konstitutionell rätt
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-527165ISBN: 978-91-506-3052-7 (tryckt)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-527165DiVA, id: diva2:1854287
Disputation
2024-06-14, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (Engelska)
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Forskningsfinansiär
Uppsala universitetTillgänglig från: 2024-05-22 Skapad: 2024-04-24 Senast uppdaterad: 2024-05-22

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Carlsson, Anni

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