Hate Speech, Fake News and Populism: the Dark Side of Social Networks

The Internet, SNs in particular, has altered the usual pattern of protection/limitation of freedom of speech, because has maximized the potential of this freedom. Recently, the freedom of speech has been put under strain, because of the spreading of fake news/hate speech, intertwined with the rise of populism throughout Europe.
The interplay between fake news/hate speech and populism undermines the democratic legal order. In this context, freedom of speech has to be balanced with the protection of democracy. However, any possible national legislation aiming at sanctioning fake news and hate speech on social networks’ platforms seems to require the cooperation and intervention of the social platforms, raising concerns, mainly related to the enforceability.
The German law, which provides for a notice and take down system within 24 hours, offers a tentative solution to the issue, though seeming not to properly focus on the transitional character of net, demanding a transnational approach

Hate Speech On Line in the European Context

In the European Context the spreading of hateful ideas is considered a serious threat for democracy and the respect of human dignity. After the Second World War the European countries launched a battle against all forms of discrimination, also through the adoption of anti-hate speech regulations. At the supranational level, the European Institutions follow the same pattern.
Since that period the protection of freedom of expression is at the stake. Initially considered as the right that help the consolidation of democracy, nowadays it is perceived as a danger. The arrival of the digital era has complicated the framework even more. Internet come along with the purposes to free the world of the information; quite soon it has shown the downsides linked with the anonymity and the speed of the online interactions.
Therefore, many new questions arise at a European constitutional level: How to regulate the phenomena? How to enforce the law? How to cooperate with the SNs companies?

How to deal with hate speech? A comparison between constitutional models

These are hard times for freedom of expression. Internet has changed many of the rules of the democratic game, posing new challenges to old issues. The constitutional debate has focused on determining the constitutionality of measures that, limiting freedom of expression, are aimed at protecting other fundamental values endangered by hate speech. Should constitutional systems tolerate hate speech and allow its dissemination?
The answers that the comparative constitutional experience offers to this question can be systematized in “constitutional models”, understood as a synthesis of the main legislative and jurisprudential solutions provided in each state context, which identifies different “resistance thresholds” .
The presentation will focus on four “constitutional models” in order to identify which one may represent an appropriate answers to manage the rapidity of the changes generated by Internet.