Since the opaqueness of algorithms used for rankings, recommender systems, personalized advertisements, and content moderation on online platforms opens the door to discriminatory and anti-competitive behavior, increasing transparency has become a key objective of EU lawmakers. In the latest Commission proposals, the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act, transparency obligations for online intermediaries, platforms and ‘gatekeepers’ figure prominently. This paper investigates whether key concepts of competition law and transparency on digital markets are used in the same way by different stakeholders. Leveraging the power of computational text analysis, we find significant differences in the employment of terms like ‘gatekeepers’, ‘simple’, and ‘precise’ in the position papers that informed the drafting of the two latest Commission proposals. This finding is not only informative for the Commission and legal scholars, it might also affect the effectiveness of transparency duties, for which it is often simply assumed that phrases like ‘precise information’ are understood the same way by those implementing said obligations. Hence, it may explain why they fail so often to reach their goal. We conclude by sketching out how different computational text analysis tools, like topic modeling, sentiment analysis and text similarity, could be combined to provide many helpful insights for both rulemakers and the legal scholarship.

Talking at Cross Purposes? A Computational Analysis of the Debate on Informational Duties in the Digital Services and the Digital Markets Acts

Di Porto, Fabiana
;
2022

Abstract

Since the opaqueness of algorithms used for rankings, recommender systems, personalized advertisements, and content moderation on online platforms opens the door to discriminatory and anti-competitive behavior, increasing transparency has become a key objective of EU lawmakers. In the latest Commission proposals, the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act, transparency obligations for online intermediaries, platforms and ‘gatekeepers’ figure prominently. This paper investigates whether key concepts of competition law and transparency on digital markets are used in the same way by different stakeholders. Leveraging the power of computational text analysis, we find significant differences in the employment of terms like ‘gatekeepers’, ‘simple’, and ‘precise’ in the position papers that informed the drafting of the two latest Commission proposals. This finding is not only informative for the Commission and legal scholars, it might also affect the effectiveness of transparency duties, for which it is often simply assumed that phrases like ‘precise information’ are understood the same way by those implementing said obligations. Hence, it may explain why they fail so often to reach their goal. We conclude by sketching out how different computational text analysis tools, like topic modeling, sentiment analysis and text similarity, could be combined to provide many helpful insights for both rulemakers and the legal scholarship.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11587/468496
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