This project is motivated by the unprecedented speed and scale at which harmful and illegal content has been disseminated online, driven in significant part by the deployment of engagement-based ranking and recommendation algorithms on online platforms. It is also mindful of the legal and technical challenges involved in moderating such content, given the complexities of language and the need to balance between protection from harm and the freedom to receive and impart information. ‘Beat the algorithm’ sits against a background of ongoing and re-emerging crisis in the online information space, including the recent surge of online hateful content relating to the war in Gaza and disinformation with respect to elections around the world.  

This project has three key outputs:

  • An exclusive interview with Frances Haugen, the ‘Facebook whistle-blower’, whose revelations included findings that ranking and recommendation algorithms can lead to real-world harm (link to follow).
  • An article on ‘The Right to be Free from Incitement to Discrimination, Hostility and Violence in the Digital Age’, to be published in a special issue of the journal ‘Global Responsibility to Protect’ (forthcoming in 2024).
  • A workshop on ‘Rights-respecting approaches to content and platform governance in times of crisis’, to be held in May 2024 in partnership with the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and Access Now.

Stay tuned to this page for more project updates.