Social Media Accountability and the Role of Multi-Stakeholders

The fifth annual Lebanese Internet Governance Forum (LIGF) was held on January 30th and 31st, 2024, under the theme "Effective Governance for a Better Internet in Lebanon." Hosted by the American University of Beirut at the Beirut Digital District (BDD), the event also took place virtually via Zoom.


On January 31st, 2024, a session titled "Social Media Accountability and the Role of Multi-Stakeholders" was organized by Maharat, SMEX, and UNESCO as part of the forum's main sessions.


This session underscored the significance of the LIGF as a platform for domestic discussions about Lebanon's position on the regulation of social media platforms, while also stressing the importance of involving civil society organizations in these discussions. Moreover, it emphasized the need to balance regulatory measures with the preservation of freedom of expression and the free flow of online information, while highlighting concerns about regulation in countries characterized by weak rule of law, such as Lebanon.



In line with this, Maharat highlighted its contribution to the two reports on "Accountability Regimes for Social Network Accounts and their Users” and "Pluralism of Information in Curation and Indexation Algorithms”, issued by the Forum on Information and Democracy last year. Through the involvement of local experts, Maharat provided contextual insights to the recommendations developed by the Forum, thereby strengthening the integration of local perspectives and engaging local actors in the international conversation around social media platform’s regulation. 


Additionally, the session underscored that the solution does not solely rest in enacting legislation, but also in establishing regulatory mechanisms and standards to ensure the effective implementation of laws concerning the regulation of social media platforms. Participants also highlighted that addressing the challenges entails a comprehensive approach that combines the development of regulatory mechanisms with media literacy initiatives.


Finally, they emphasized the fact that collaboration with platforms is crucial for understanding algorithmic processes, regulating content, and influencing their policies.