9 June 2020

New PhD student in CEPRI

CEPRI welcomes Wendy Meng as new PhD student from 1 September 2020. Her PhD project is entitled “Social Media Platforms – entangled between private and public regulation of online offensive speech”.

About Wendy Meng
Wendy Meng received both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in law from the University of Copenhagen (2014). During her education, she has studied abroad at the University of Oxford (2012) and at the University of Hong Kong (2013). In addition, Wendy Meng holds an LL.M degree from Duke University (2017), where she also worked as a research assistant at the Fuqua Business School in cooperation with Duke Law.  

Wendy Meng has a background as a corporate lawyer and has worked at top tier law firms in Denmark, including Kromann Reumert (2015-2018), and Plesner (2018). She has also previously worked as an attorney at PwC, Denmark.

The research project: “Social Media Platforms – entangled between private and public regulation of online offensive speech”
Giant social media platforms, such as Facebook, have increasingly become “gatekeepers” of the online information flow due to their essential role in regulating online speech. These private entities have built their own governance systems to address online objectionable content and are performing three roles simultaneously, acting like: (1) legislature, in defining what constitutes legitimate content on their platform, (2) judges, who determine the legitimacy of content and (3) administrative agencies, who act on adjudications to block illegitimate content. Under these private governance systems, private entities now perform a task that traditionally belonged to the state – governing free speech. Concurrently, governments around the world put pressure on these online intermediaries to remove undesirable site content in order to suppress hate speech, defamatory statements, privacy violations etc.

The primary objectives of the project are to examine the interplay between private and public regulation of online offensive speech and to uncover the circumstances under which online intermediaries such as social media platforms can be held liable. The project will focus on online intermediary liability for defamation, but will also examine how speech types closely related to defamation, such as hate speech, privacy violations and “fake news”, are regulated under the private governance systems of social media platforms. In short, the project will explore on what basis online intermediaries can be held liable towards third parties for “under-removal” of illicit content as well as “over-removal” of protected speech.