CCDH’s STAR Framework: Transforming Social Media and Our Online Futures

Posted on August 29, 2023 in Explainers.

STAR Framework for social media reform

Social media has undeniably transformed our world, connecting billions, amplifying voices, and forging communities. Yet, this incredible tool has shown its dark side. Hate, disinformation, abuse, and harassment run rampant on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube.

Through CCDH’s STAR Framework, we aim to establish key global standards for social media reform to ensure effectiveness, connectedness and consistency for a sector whose reach impacts people globally.

We need to reset our relationship with technology companies and collectively legislate to address the systems that amplify hate and dangerous misinformation. The STAR Framework draws on the most important elements for achieving this: Safety by Design, Transparency, Accountability and Responsibility.

Watch this video for a comprehensive explainer.

What is the STAR Framework?

In 2022, CCDH identified the need for a global solution: The STAR Framework. STAR stands for:

  • Safety by Design
  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Responsibility

But how does it work?

  • Safety by Design:

Just as cars undergo rigorous safety checks, technology companies should ensure their products are safe before unleashing them on the public. Safety by Design demands proactive choices to protect users.

  • Transparency:

Opaque algorithms enable harmful content promotion. Legislation should mandate transparency in algorithm operations, data management, and decision-making processes.

  • Accountability:

Effective regulation requires clear lines of accountability. An independent body must challenge technology companies’ decisions and engage with civil society, communities, and researchers globally.

  • Responsibility:

Social media companies and their senior executives must be held responsible for platform conduct, not just in content moderation but in the amplification of content, system design, and equity in user experience.

Why the STAR Framework?

Corporate social media platforms have unwittingly fostered online toxicity because of misaligned incentives. These platforms profit from controversy, anger, and emotional turmoil, keeping users hooked for ad revenue. They prioritize profit over people.

There is a crisis unfolding:

This problem is too dire to ignore. A majority of adults in the US now recognize the real-world impact of online harms.

In a world where misinformation, hate speech, and digital extremism threaten the very fabric of our societies, the STAR Framework is a beacon of hope. It represents a collaborative effort to foster a safer, more inclusive, and healthier digital ecosystem for all.

Your Role in This Transformation

Social media and search engine companies’ playbook is familiar: Deny the problem, deflect blame, and delay taking action.

Governments worldwide are starting to take action to limit the harmful excesses of social media giants. From the Digital Service Act in Europe, The Online Safety Bill in the UK, and growing calls for action in the US – change is possible, and is starting.

But legislative and regulatory frameworks have been too slow to keep up with the fast-moving, and ever-changing digital landscape. The constant evolution of technology means that lawmakers and regulators need to run to catch up with the harms arising in online spaces every day.

Politicians will act – but only when we come together to demand change. The STAR Framework is the first step towards a safer, more prosperous, and enjoyable social media. Join CCDH and demand change today.

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