Chicago Journal of International Law

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This Essay is a critical reflection on the impact of the digital revolution and the internet on three topics that shape the contemporary world: democracy, social media, and freedom of expression. Part I establishes historical and conceptual assumptions about constitutional democracy and discusses the role of digital platforms in the current moment of democratic recession. Part II discusses how, while social media platforms have revolutionized interpersonal and social communication and democratized access to knowledge and information, they also have led to an exponential spread of mis- and disinformation, hate speech, and conspiracy theories. Part III proposes a framework that balances regulation of digital platforms with the countervailing fundamental right to freedom of expression, a right that is essential for human dignity, the search for the possible truth, and democracy. Part IV highlights the role of society and the importance of media education in the creation of a free, but positive and constructive, environment on the internet.

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