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Global Challenges to Digital Media Policy and Regulation, Vol. 30 - 2023, No. 2

Guest Edited by Hannu Nieminen, Helena Sousa, and Claudia Padovani

Why Has the EU Been Late in Regulating Social Media Platforms?

, , , pages: 174-196[open access]

In 2021 and 2022, the European Union (EU) launched a series of proposals aimed at improving internet regulation, benefiting both European industries and services, as well as European consumers or internet users. These measures have been watched from around the globe because they can be seen as a first attempt to create a meta-level regulatory environment for the digital economy that effectively challenges the domination of the Big Tech conglomerates of the US and China. However, even if the new EU regulation proves effective, how effective can they be in challenging the fundamental dynamics of the internet and digital economy that the internet enables? In the present article, we attempt to answer why the EU has been late in regulating social media platforms, which play a central role in the internet-based digital economy. We will base our argumentation on a critical reading of the history of the internet and its regulation from its early days to the 2020s.

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