Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Social Media and Human Rights

Ira Steven Nathenson, St. Thomas University School of Law, has published Super-Intermediaries, Code, Human Rights at 8 Intercultural Human Rights Law Review 19 (2013). Here is the abstract.

We live in an age of intermediated network communications.  Although the internet includes many intermediaries, some stand heads and shoulders above the rest.  This article examines some of the responsibilities of “Super-Intermediaries” such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, intermediaries that have tremendous power over their users’ human rights.  After considering the controversy arising from the incendiary YouTube video Innocence of Muslims, the article suggests that Super-Intermediaries face a difficult and likely impossible mission of fully servicing the broad tapestry of human rights contained in the International Bill of Human Rights.  The article further considers how intermediary content-control procedures focus too heavily on intellectual property, and are poorly suited to balancing the broader and often-conflicting set of values embodied in human rights law.  Finally, the article examines a number of steps that Super-Intermediaries might take to resolve difficult content problems and ultimately suggests that intermediaries subscribe to a set of process-based guiding principles — a form of Digital Due Process — so that intermediaries can better foster human dignity.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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