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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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content moderation

European Media Freedom Act: some reflections from Wikimedia Europe

The European Media Freedom Act is a proposal for regulation put forward by the EU Commission in September 2022 aiming at safeguarding media freedom and pluralism in Europe. For Wikimedia it is relevant, because, on the one hand, it wants to regulate how online platforms moderate content by media service providers and, on the other, it introduces some general rules of media law, including the protection of journalists.

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Wikipedia will be harmed by France’s proposed SREN bill: Legislators should avoid unintended consequences

Written by Jan Gerlach, Director of Public Policy at the Wikimedia Foundation; Phil Bradley-Schmieg, Lead Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation; and, Michele Failla, Senior EU Policy Specialist at Wikimedia Europe

(Wikimédia France, the French national Wikimedia chapter, has also published a blog post on the SREN bill)

The French legislature is currently working on a bill that aims at securing and regulating digital space (widely known by its acronym, SREN). As currently drafted, the bill not only threatens Wikipedia’s community-led model of decentralized collaboration and decision-making, it also contradicts the EU’s data protection rules and its new content moderation law, the Digital Services Act (DSA). For these reasons, the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Europe call on French lawmakers to amend the SREN bill in order to make sure that public interest projects like Wikipedia are protected and can continue to flourish.

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Europe Needs Digital Public Spaces That Are Independently Moderated and Hosted

Since the advent of online platforms, which allow users to openly share content, the structure of the public sphere has been transformed. Until just a few decades ago, we were used to the fact that a significant part of public discourse would take place in publicly-owned and publicly-controlled spaces, be it town squares, parks, city halls, cultural establishments or public broadcasters. In the digital world, what we think of as public spaces are actually mostly private, for-profit, and/or data-guzzling platforms and services. The only very large online platform that is not-for-profit and is maintained by a thriving community of users is Wikipedia. This gives people on the internet agency and empowers them. We believe that the huge dominance of the for-profit, data driven model is a main reason for the greater vulnerability that our societies are experiencing in terms of polarisation, disinformation, and hate. We are confident that using versatile and diverse models of operation of online services and their underlying infrastructure will make society more resilient. It will make democratic, inclusive societies a harder target. For these reasons, we want a significant part of the online public discourse to take place on public or not-for-profit platforms, services, and infrastructure. To achieve the above objective, we suggest three areas of action. 1. Institutional Support Ensure funding for a network of publicly-owned and operated platforms that can host digital cultural heritage and public debates. Regardless of whether we are speaking of a regional museum, a small municipality, or public school, whenever these institutions and communities want to run a project online or share information, they rely on a few dominant, data-monetising services, even for the most basic action of hosting content. European digital hosting infrastructure for public service and cultural institutions is important for sovereignty and… Read More »Europe Needs Digital Public Spaces That Are Independently Moderated and Hosted

DSA: Political Deal done!

European Union (EU) lawmakers have agreed on a political deal to establish general online content moderation rules. Several cornerstones include a notice-and-action regime, Commission oversight over very large platforms and certain rules for terms of services.

After the political deal, some technical wording remains to be worked on. The deal is expected to be voted on in Parliament in July 2022. We have previously compared the three stances from a free knowledge point of view. We also analysed the state of negotiations in April 2022. Here is an analysis of the trilogue deal, based on what we know. 

We welcome that during the deliberations  lawmakers began making a distinction between rules created and imposed by the services provider and rules written and applied by volunteer editing communities. It is a pity that “citizen moderation”, something the internet needs more of, wasn’t recognised explicitly.

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DSA: Trilogues Update

European Union (EU) lawmakers are under a lot of self-imposed pressure to reach an agreement on content moderation rules that will apply to all platforms. Several cornerstones have been placed either at the highest political levels (e.g., banning targeted ads directed at minors) or agreed upon on a technical level (e.g., notice-and-action procedures). But there is still no breakthrough on a few other articles, like the newly floated “crisis response mechanism.”  

Read More »DSA: Trilogues Update