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Header ZOOM | Internationales Medienrecht
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Regulation of Twitter, Facebook & Co.

October 12, 2021

On November 17, 2021, Deutsche Welle continued its series of events with the Institute for Media Law and Communications Law at the University of Cologne.


Regulating the big networks - that's all the European Union wants to achieve with its initiative to enact a Digital Services Act. A topic we couldn't avoid either - on the contrary: The title of ZOOM 2021 was Regulation of Twitter, Facebook & Co. - possible or futile?

Aufzeichnung der Medienrechtstagung ZOOM 2021

The further question "Is the regulation of Facebook, Twitter & Co complex?" inevitably follows. Professor Mark D. Cole, Director at the Institute for European Media Law (EMR) in Saarbrücken/Brussels, had a clear answer: "Of course it is, without a doubt, but it is at the same time without alternative and at least we can [and should] achieve it in Europe based on values and fundamental rights." Cole informed the participants about the current state of the consultations in Brussels and gave an outlook on both the expected regulatory complexes in the DSA and the shortcomings of the current draft that still need to be discussed. 

Vera Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission, underlined in her keynote speech, "[...] we have a proposal and we do it in the European way, which means that the protection of fundamental rights must stay and be the very center of everything we do." In her keynote, she made clear that the DSA was also about preventing illegal content and misinformation on the Internet. The current refugee crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland was based on false information that had reached people, she said.

The subsequent panel discussion explored the question of how it is possible to effectively regulate multinational corporations, most of which are based in non-European countries and belong to different legal cultures, and to enforce the regulations. The discussants Thomas Fuchs, Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Tabea Rößner, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group, Marie-Teresa Weber, Public Policy Manager Meta, 

Given the important role of media intermediaries in shaping public opinion, the need to oblige media intermediaries to offer a minimum of factual, balanced and pluralistic information while preserving freedom of opinion and expression was discussed.

And these were our speakers and discussants:

Peter Limbourg, DW, Intendant | Director General

GMF2021 | Speaker | Peter Limbourg
Image: J. Röhl/DW

Peter Limbourg studied law in Bonn. He worked in the former GDR as a correspondent in Leipzig, then in London, before going to Brussels in 1990 as a correspondent for SAT.1. In 1996 he took over the Bonn bureau of ProSieben, and in 1999 he was involved in founding the news channel N24 and became its co-chief editor. In 2008, Limbourg became the sole editor-in-chief of N24 and remained the main anchor of SAT.1 News until 2013. In 2010, after leaving N24, he became Director of Information at ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland (Senior Vice President News & Political Information). 

Věra Jourová, Vice President of the EU Commission and Commissioner for Values and Transparency

Vizepräsidentin der EU-Kommission Vera Jourova
Image: European Union

Věra Jourová has been Vice President of the EU Commission and Commissioner for Values and Transparency since 2019. Previously, she was EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumer Protection and Gender Equality from 2014 to 2019. The Czech politician from the ANO 20211 party studied cultural anthropology and law at Charles University in Prague.

Prof. Dr. Mark D. Cole, Director at the Institute for European Media Law (EMR) in Saarbrücken/Brussels.

Prof. Mark D. Cole | Wissenschaftlicher Direktor des Instituts für Europäisches Medienrecht
Image: Michel Brumat/University of Luxembourg

Prof. Dr. Cole is Professor of Media and Telecommunications Law at the University of Luxembourg and Scientific Director of the Institute for European Media Law (EMR) in Saarbrücken. n 2020, he was appointed to the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on Media Environment and Reform (MSI-REF), where he serves as co-rapporteur for a draft recommendation on principles for media and communications governance. Cole specializes in European and comparative media law. One of his research interests is the regulatory framework of the Digital Services Act.

Thomas Fuchs, Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information

Thomas Fuchs | Hamburgischer Datenschutzbeauftragter
Image: Bildwerkstatt Nienstedten

Thomas Fuchs has been Hamburg's Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information since November 2021. From 2008 to October 2021, Fuchs was director of the Media Authority Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein (MA HSH). Until his departure from MA HSH, he was coordinator of the Media Authority's expert committee "Networks, Technology, Convergence," topic representative "Intermediaries" of the Directors' Conference of the State Media Authorities and also a member of the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media (KJM). Fuchs studied law, philosophy and European law in Hamburg, Brussels and Bremen.

Tabea Rößner, Member of the Bundestag, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group

Tabea Rößner | MdB  Sprecherin für Netzpolitik und Verbraucherschutz in der Bundestagesfraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
Image: Stefan Kaminski

Tabe Rößner is the spokesperson for network policy and consumer protection in the Green parliamentary group in the Bundestag and also has a seat on the Committee for Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection and is a deputy member of the Digital Agenda Committee and the Committee for Culture and Media. She is a deputy member of the Enquete Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

Marie-Teresa Weber, Public Policy Manager Meta

Berlin | Marie-Teresa Weber
Image: Tobias Koch

Marie-Teresa Weber is responsible for media policy and media regulation at Meta in Berlin. With a degree in law, she previously worked as a lawyer and as Head of Division for Media Policy & Competition and Consumer Law at the digital association Bitkom. 


Michaela Küfner, DW, Chief Political Editor

06.2015 DW News Moderator Michaela Kuefner

Michaela Küfner will moderate ZOOM 2021. She is Chief Political Editor at Deutsche Welle and has been with the German foreign broadcaster since 2001. She has been co-director of Democracy Reporting International (DRI) since 2006. Küfner has years of experience as an election observer in various OSCE and EU missions.