The legal regulation of social networks across Europe

Virtually all areas of everyday life are influenced by the transformation of the world into a digital world and one of the most affected is the public sphere. With the emergence of the internet, the public sphere, previously organized around television and printed journalism, is now structured around social networks. An immense regulatory challenge arises because social networks have a specific legal status: private but opened to the public. The possibilities go from no regulation but inevitable if uncertain self-regulation to severe public regulation. A combination of both has come to be known as regulated self-regulation. The present paper aims to understand how some of the EU jurisdictions (Germany, Portugal, France and Italy) are dealing with the regulation of social networks, especially in the context of the clash between fundamental rights such as the right to privacy, reputation and good name, freedom of expression and freedom of the press, as well as freedom of enterprise.