2021/ 2022

Ylenia Maria Citino

Mobility Phase: European Commission, DG Connect | University of Maastricht

Social Media, Fundamental Rights and Threats to Democracy in Europe

Photo: Joanna Scheffel

Ylenia Maria Citino is Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Political Sciences (DISP) in Luiss Guido Carli University and Research Member of the Center of Parliamentary Studies (CESP) directed by pr. Nicola Lupo, in Rome. She is Assistant Contract Professor for the Chair of Public Law held by pr. Peter Leyland in Luiss. During her re:constitution fellowship she visited DG CONNECT in the European Commission, and the Maastricht Center for European Law, directed by pr. Bruno de Witte, in Maastricht University. She holds a Ph.D in Public Law from the Department of Political Sciences in Roma Tre University. Ylenia collaborated with the Chair of Public Law at the Department of Political Sciences in Roma Tre University and with the Chair of Constitutional Law at the Law Department in Marconi University, Rome. In 2019 she won the prize for the Best Doctoral Dissertation on Public Law, awarded by the Book Series “Sovranità, Federalismo, Diritti”, University of Insubria, in partnership with the association “Gruppo di Pisa”. Graduate in Law of Luiss Guido Carli University (110/110 cum laude), Ylenia has a Master’s degree in Diplomatic Studies at SIOI and a Postgraduate Diploma on Public Administration Studies from the French Ecole Nationale d’Administration. Previously, she was legal adviser for the President of the Defence Committee in the Italian “Senato della Repubblica” (2010-11), stagiaire at the Legal Service of the Council of the European Union (2013) and at the cabinet of the Prefect of Paris (2013-14). Ylenia is member of the Editorial Board of the top-tier scientific journals “Nomos – Le attualità del diritto” and “PasSaggi Costituzionali”, and active member of ICON-S, IACL and Gruppo di Pisa.

Social Media, Fundamental Rights and Threats to Democracy in Europe

Social media are increasingly used as a tool of communication, cultural and political interaction as well as a leading source of information. Early years discussions showed a great deal of optimism and enthusiasm towards their use, seen as a great opportunity to political literacy and the establishment of a well-aware public opinion. They have an outstanding outreach capacity, and some empirical studies show that they can enhance trust, transparency, accountability and involvement in public life. Nevertheless, today major challenges have to be addressed, such as the misuse of digital communication instruments for triggering fake, misrepresenting or emotion-led news; the manipulation of the public credibility by uncontrolled hate speech, main entryway for anti-democratic trends; an unregulated use of the digital sphere, creating ever-new threats to democracy and fundamental rights; the rising power of tech giants, big data and the risks caused by algorithm-driven public decisions. These intertwined matters are receiving undeniable interest by the regulatory authorities at national and supranational level. This proposal aims at analyzing the European approach to digital transformations and digital challenges by focusing mainly on the existing and proposed laws and bylaws, as well as case studies.