The Regulation of Branded Content Creators : Protecting Media Consumers from Harmful Content in the Complex Online Environment
The research starts from the observation that in the light of ongoing developments in technology and the social-side effects resulting therefrom the traditional image of the passive media consumer, in front of a television, is being challenged by the 'prosumer', who consumes, creates and shares audiovisual content online: people across all ages, skills and backgrounds are able to participate in all sorts of online applications such as social media and video-sharing platforms, by uploading ‘user-generated content’. Over the past years, children and adolescents in particular are choosing to spend their screen time online – watching their favourite user-generated content creators from all over the world on video-sharing platforms such as YouTube, Twitch or TikTok. The proposed research aims to uncover whether the current regulatory framework is able to strike the right balance between empowerment and protection of children as media consumers in light of user-generated content on video-sharing platforms, while focusing on harmful content, gaming content and gambling(-like) content. Or should regulatory changes be made? In this assessment, rapid technological changes which could impact the online audiovisual children’s marketplace need to be taken into account. In light of the foregoing, this research aims to shed light on the legal rights and responsibilities amongst the multiplicity of actors in the video-sharing platforms' value chain, the user-generated content creators in particular (but also video-sharing platforms, viewers, their parents, policy makers and enforcement bodies), in order to benefit legal certainty. Additionally, the proposed research will also address the enforcement problems in the context of online user-generated audiovisual content, demonstrated by previous research.