Online digital risks and speech governance in the EU: The quest for a balance

In the context of online speech governance, a shift has taken place within EU digital policies towards an enhancement of the responsibilities of Internet service providers. After the second half of the 2010s, the Union has developed a range of “risk-based” acts which aim to reduce the negative impact of the dissemination of illegal content across the Internet. These regulatory techniques, however, can lead to an excessive, and often discriminatory, abridgment of individuals’ freedom of expression, especially in the light of the increasing use of AI for content moderation. Having the European institutions been mainly concerned about the goal of reducing the harms and dangers linked to the digital environment, current responses to the side-effects of the new regulatory trends have not been fully satisfying. The fight against harmful content should be coupled with efficient safeguards for vulnerable users to truly make the Internet a safe and trustworthy environment.