Accountability in the Globalized Digital Age: The example of online content regulation in the EU

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the challenges that accountability is presented with in the area of online content moderation, with emphasis on practices adopted for the regulation of hate speech online. The analysis will deal not only with the role of the state in the digital environment but also with that of internet intermediaries—labelled as ‘private superpowers’—in providing more accountable webs of protection for affected individuals and groups in the post-truth era. The discussion of the regulatory ‘exchange’ between the two actors will reveal the difficulties and advantages of this evolving policy area on the level of accountability for digital platform users. The analysis also takes a closer look at how the most common tools of online content moderation pose a challenge to accountability in more specific terms, in order then to explore the current trends in the European legal landscape on the question.