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Free Scientific Conference Against Misinformation, Day Two

Free Scientific Conference Against Misinformation, Day Two

The second day of the “Free Conference: Science in the Fight against Disinformation” highlighted the importance and urgency of platform regulation in Brazil. The table “Challenges related to the fight against disinformation and platform regulation” proposes a multi-sectoral perspective to analyze the issue, with the participation of Federal Representative Orlando Silva (PCdoB/SP), rapporteur of Law PL 2630/2020 in the Chamber of Deputies.

“The multi-faceted issue requires multi-faceted responses, and there is no appropriate method without the participation of the state, academia and civil society,” the MP said. “If these actors go it alone, we will not make much progress in creating a healthy digital space,” added María Paula Almada, researcher at the National Institute of Science and Technology in Digital Democracy (INCT.DD) and director of the Aláfia Lab.

The representative updated the efforts made to advance the agenda and stated that the opportunity to approve the bill PL 2630 is linked to the production of new facts, both in the internal dimension of Congress, and in the dimension related to dialogues with actors such as civil society. Silva noted that the government is expected to strengthen a common position in the short term so that a multi-sectoral discussion can be initiated, including the private sector and civil society in order to identify differences and seek convergence on this topic.

Silva also pointed out how Brazil has benefited from the “Brussels effect”, drawing inspiration from the backlog of discussions on topics already discussed and legislation already approved within the EU, such as the Day Residence Law. . But he stressed that we still need to increase our arsenal, given that the law in force in the European Economic Bloc addresses “digital services” and in Brazil the discussion is limited to communications platforms. “Displacing only one side is a manufacturing defect of the debate we are having in Brazil,” the MP noted.

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Laura Moraes, campaigns coordinator at Avaaz, noted the difficulties in advancing the debate given the political and economic power the platforms wield over the issue. Moraes pointed to the massive campaign by companies like Google against the approval of PL 2630/2020 in 2023 and highlighted how there is a disparity in access and resources compared to civil society. “How many Brazilians will we lose for raising the tone?” the activist urged.

Laura Schertel, Associate Professor of Civil Law at the University of Brasilia (UnB) and the Brazilian Institute of Public Law (IDP), contributed by pointing out three shortcomings that must be taken into account when proposing the topic. The first is institutional deficit. The expert – in addition to other guests – stressed that there is a challenge in government coordination, as there is no single body concerned with regulating the platforms.

The second deficit presented by Schertel refers to the normative dimension. For her, it is necessary to discuss the responsibility of all actors involved, and transparency about what is happening in the platform space is also essential. “We can only curate what we can see,” he said. Finally, counsel highlighted the need to advance the debate on self-regulation regulation to understand the role platforms will play in co-regulation.
Researcher María Paula Almada also stressed the need for transparency, highlighting access to data in two aspects: access to research related to public debate on social networks and access to the workings of the dynamics of the platforms themselves, which have vested interests and guide public debate. . The expert highlighted the low level of transparency on platforms with the closure of tools such as CrowdTangle, and stressed the importance of access to data governed by regulatory rules.

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