- User-generated content (UGC) is ethically and legally owned by the creator of the content. This ownership rule applies whether users promote a product or service online, express their views, or they publish news, analysis, or opinion pieces in text or multimedia format.
- UGC platforms are provided by electronic systems organizers (ESOs) that publish content created and uploaded directly by the users, not by the providers. UGC comprises a vast amount of extremely diversified information, including images, videos, comments, and product advertisements published on dedicated websites or exchanged on messaging applications.
- MOCI Regulation No. 5/2020 prohibits certain types of content, but does not provide clear definitions, especially what is considered to “agitate society and disturb public order”. Without a precise definition of prohibited content, the task of filtering and moderating the content on ESO platforms in line with government regulations is becoming more complex. This carries the risk that ESOs will follow the precautionary principle and excessively block lawful content due to remaining doubts about its legality.
- MOCI Regulation No. 5/2020 exempts online intermediaries that provide UGC from being liable for hosting prohibited content if they maintain an electronic information management system and reporting platform and satisfy content moderation requirements outlined in the regulation.
- Once notified of prohibited content found on their platform, ESOs need to take it down within 24 hours, or within 4 hours if the takedown is considered urgent, such as for child pornography, terrorism, or content deemed capable of causing social unrest. With an unclear definition of content that agitates society and disturbs public order, this may not be sufficient time to check and respond to requests for removal.
- The legal exemption of ESOs for UGC remains vague saying UGC-based online intermediaries “can be exempted” from liability after they fulfill all content moderation requirements. This implies that online intermediaries can still be held liable even after they have fulfilled all requirements. Article 11 should be revised and clearly state that online intermediaries “shall be exempted” from liability instead of “can be exempted.”
- The government should consider to co-regulate UGC together with the private sector. A meaningful Public-Private Dialogue and shared responsibilities help the regulatory process to keep up with the fast-changing digital landscape and to stay open for innovation and technological progress. to keep up with the fast-changing digital landscape and to stay open for innovation and technological progress.