Chicago Journal of International Law

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The EU’s latest regulation of social media platforms—the Digital Services Act (DSA)—will create tension and conflict with the U.S. speech regime applicable to social media platforms. The DSA, like prior EU regulations of social media platforms, will further instantiate the Brussels Effect, whereby EU regulators wield powerful influence on how social media platforms moderate content on the global scale. This is because the DSA’s regulatory regime (with its huge penalties for noncompliance) will incentivize the platforms to skew their global content moderation policies toward the EU’s instead of the U.S.’s balance of speech harms versus benefits. The Act’s incentives for platforms to moderate harmful content, if implemented globally as is likely, will also create tension with recently enacted U.S. state laws like those adopted in Texas and Florida, and those proposed at the federal level, which prohibit platforms from moderating content in a viewpoint-discriminatory manner.

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