Conference Paper: “The principle of transparency in youth targeted content on social media”

Carolina Goberna

V International Congress on Communication and Youth
April 1-3, 2020

Full article

Paper available for download in November 2020


Nowadays, teenagers and young people communicate through digital devices that produce instant outcomes. One of the most characteristic aspects about the relationship of youth, between 15 and 24 years old, through different digital platforms and social networks is the immediacy with which content is acquired and consumed. However, the desire for immediate content reduces to a minimum regarding the legal consequences of exchanging personal data to acquire an immediate service, exchange which does not always enjoy the greatest transparency or security of the personal data processed.

The proximity of content offered to youth on social networks is linked to the prior processing of personal data. Data processing entails compliance with the right to protection of personal data, which is a core principle in primary and secondary EU law. This article will address how the processing of personal data must be in accordance with the principle of transparency according to which users should be fully informed of certain aspects of the processing, and which will be implemented by default in the HORIZON2020 EU HELIOS project dedicated to the creation of a new decentralised social network.

In accordance with the principle of transparency, such information must be easily accessible, easy to understand and in clear and plain language. The description of information concerning the data controller, as well as the purposes of the processing and the rights attached to it, must be comprehensible to adolescents and young people. However, we often find contractual clauses, before acquiring an online service, which legal language makes difficult understanding the purpose of processing of personal data and added risks. The lack of understanding implies, firstly, lack of comprehension of provisions that are accepted; secondly, the granting of rights to a data controller or third party, which would not be granted if they were understood; and finally, the loss of individual rights. After analysing and interpreting the provisions of the GDPR related to the principle of transparency on social media, measures complying with the principle and the rights of adolescents will be directly applicable to the HELIOS project.