UC Irvine Journal of International, Transnational, and Comparative Law


This Article examines the ongoing dynamics in the regulation of disinformation in Europe, focusing on the intersection between the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy. Importantly, there has been a recent wave of regulatory measures and other forms of pressure on online platforms to tackle disinformation in Europe. These measures play out in different ways at the intersection of the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy. Crucially, as governments, journalists, and researchers seek greater transparency and access to information from online platforms to evaluate their impact on the health of their democracies, these measures raise acute issues related to user privacy. Indeed, platforms that once refused to cooperate with governments in identifying users allegedly responsible for disseminating illegal or harmful content are now expanding cooperation. However, while platforms are increasingly facilitating government access to user data, platforms are also invoking data protection law concerns as a shield in response to recent efforts at increased platform transparency. At the same time, data protection law provides for one of the main systemic regulatory safeguards in Europe. It protects user autonomy concerning data-driven campaigns, requiring transparency for internet audiences about targeting and data subject rights in relation to audience platforms, such as social media companies.