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The research project "Using AI to Increase Resilience against Toxicity in Online Entertainment (ToxicAInment)", by Prof. Dr. Yannis Theocharis (Chair of Digital Governance), funded by the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (BIDT), explores the spread of extremist, conspiratorial and misleading content on social media, investigating how this content is embedded through entertaining content. It aims to deepen the understanding of the impact of this content on user behavior by combining entertainment theories, visual communication and toxic language with AI methods. This project makes an important contribution to analyzing and combating online toxicity. More information can be found on the project page or in the BIDT press release.


A two-day workshop bringing together experts in the field

Content moderation and free speech in the digital realm - and how to balance them - are key topics for researchers, philosophers, public officials, NGOs, and, of course, social media platforms and users. At the TUM Think Tank, we had the pleasure of hosting a number of international experts in this field. The group came together for two full days focused on analyzing this pressing issue, exchanging ideas, and presenting empirical research from the perspectives of governance, industry, and political behavior.

From ideological biases in content moderation and the politics of platform regulation to citizens’ preferences on how online harmful speech can be curved and regulated, and the efficacy of labeling content as AI-generated, the workshop covered a wide range of topics, stressing the need for a transnational conversation about content moderation.

Panel discussion

In a thought-provoking panel together with Benjamin Brake (Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport), Friedrich Enders (TikTok Germany), Andreas Frank (Bavarian Ministry of Justice), and Ruth Appel (Stanford University), we discussed the complexities of defining harmful speech and taking action against it, how platforms are audited and how they balance transparency with user privacy and free expression when it comes to content moderation decisions.

The conversation centered on the division of responsibility for content moderation and the transparency of enforcement from the key stakeholders involved. It was noted that while the German government is responsible for smaller platforms not covered under the Digital Services Act (DSA), the European Commission is responsible for larger ones like X or TikTok.

The Chair of Digital Governance co-jointly organized the workshop at the Munich School of Politics and Public Policy, the University of Oxford, the Technical University of Munich, and the Reboot Social Media Lab at the TUM Think Tank.

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