The new EU social media law opens the door to renewed conflict with the United States over freedom of expression. Ensuring national legislation meets human rights standards will mitigate these risks.
Laurence R. Helfer is Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law and co-director of the Center for International and Comparative Law at Duke University. He is also a Permanent Visiting Professor at iCourts: The Center of Excellence for International Courts at the University of Copenhagen. His research interests include human rights, international adjudication, and the interdisciplinary analysis of international laws and institutions. He has authored more than seventy publications on these and other topics.
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Comparing the Facebook Oversight Board to an international human rights tribunal reveals that the board’s ability to hold Facebook accountable will depend on its ability to develop human rights norms, incentivize Facebook to internalize those norms, and overcome challenges to building its authority and legitimacy.
Affirming a lower court decision, the UK Supreme Court has held that, despite the referendum in June 2016 calling for withdrawal from the European Union, Britain cannot withdraw from the Union without parliamentary approval. In doing so, the Court emphasized the “constitutional character” of the legislation that implements the UK’s membership in the EU (para. 67).