Contract law in Europe currently has little grasp on the balancing of interests of social media users, their heirs, platforms, and society at large, which means that platforms play a key role in determining how digital legacies are handled. A human rights perspective can offer starting points for reforms that do more justice to the protection of digital identities of social media users. Continue reading >>
The possibility to profit from the dissemination of harmful content triggering views, engagement, and ultimately monetisation does not only concern the contractual relationship between social media and influencers, but also affects how other users enjoy digital spaces. The monetisation of harmful content by influencers should be a trigger, first, to expand the role of consumer law as a form of content regulation fostering transparency and, second, to propose a new regulatory approach to mitigate the imbalance of powers between influencers and users in social media spaces. Continue reading >>
The growth of social media has led to an unprecedented rise in financial influencers, so-called finfluencers, who share investment ideas and opinions with a global audience, even if they are not qualified or licensed to provide financial advice. This can be particularly dangerous for retail investors with low levels of financial literacy. The regulation of financial influencers is a complex and multifaceted issue that demands a comprehensive approach; the current regulatory framework may not be adequate. Continue reading >>
The rise of subscription-based business models in social media is part of a broader trend that can be observed in many industries. Against this background, it is necessary to adapt European consumer law to the new risks of the subscription economy.However, it is not enough to give consumers rights on paper. Nor is it sufficient to inform consumers about their rights in the small print. Effective consumer protection in digital markets requires a user interface design that enables consumers to exercise their rights with a simple click. Continue reading >>
While targeted advertising is still a money-making machine for social media platforms, its motor has begun to sputter. However, with artificial intelligence, the potential is even greater for companies to discover and exploit biases and vulnerabilities in consumers that they themselves may not be aware of. The point of this dive into economic engineering of personalised environments on digital platforms is to highlight the intentional creation of algorithmically curated choice sets for consumers. How can the law ensure their fairness?
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Social media is a disruptive technology that has challenged fundamental distinctions in contract law, as social media contracts don't adequately reflect complex relationships between platforms, businesses, and consumers, among others. Contract law has the potential for greater sensitivity to contract classifications because different types of contractual relations invoke different values and trade-offs. Courts can better posit them in the spectrum between business and consumer contracts, while securing business users‘ unique interests Continue reading >>
How can contract law contribute to a fair balance between the rights of prosumers and social media platforms? This contribution assesses the values that contract law should reflect, proposing the recognition of use value alongside the exchange value of products on the market. It then considers which mechanisms in contract law could be employed to do justice to both values. Continue reading >>
It has become common wisdom that “there is no such thing as free lunch.” Social media shows us daily how true this observation remains until today. The ‘conventional’ business model of these platforms focuses on data exploitation, and, increasingly, ‘freemium’ models. While it is obviously worthwhile to explore objectionable business practices in e-commerce and on social media, as 'freemium' models gain traction, this contribution suggests that the discourse on ‘dark patterns’ is somewhat sketchy and incomplete – and in need of more specificity. Continue reading >>
For years, contract law has been a hidden protagonist in the in the discourse on platform governance. he sound of this silence is especially salient against the backdrop of recent European case law that uses the contractual toolbox to infuse social media terms of service with fundamental rights, in particular the freedom of expression. In this way, contract law has produced – somewhat counterintuitively – one of the most telling responses to the key constitutional issue of social media: how to reconcile freedom of expression as a public value with the private nature of social media platforms. Continue reading >>
Article 17 of the European Union's Copyright Directive fails to effectively safeguard copyright exceptions, which can gravely undermine users’ freedom of expression in the digital public sphere. Against this backdrop, the enactment of Article 14 of the Digital Services Act offered fresh hope. Could it be the eagerly awaited ‘magic bullet’ that ensures effective protection of user rights to rely copyright exceptions to parody and quotation on social media platforms? The possibility of such an outcome is doubtful.
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Personalization — a paradigm that has been widely and successfully embraced in other areas of human activity, and primarily on social media — may be ready for the law. Social media as a data source to support personalized law is only suitable for a few areas if life. In those areas, however, personalized standards bear enormous potential. Continue reading >>
Many users do not realize that by creating a social media account, they are entering into a legally binding agreement with the platform. It might thus be time to radically rethink the principle of contractual informality online. Social media contracts may regain their importance, and users might become more aware of the contractual implications of clicking on the ‘I Agree’ button. Continue reading >>
The social media landscape is changing. The ‚public forum‘ is now filled with citizens selling products, promoting services, charging for subscriptions, and sometimes seeking attention in ways which may not be socially desirable. We ask: How can a space that is becoming increasingly commercialised, monetised, and is a source of income for many nevertheless be fair? Continue reading >>