Platform Policy: Evaluating Different Responses to the Challenges of Platform Power


This presentation starts from the premise that there has been a “policy turn” in questions of internet governance, as politicians and policymakers across multiple jurisdictions grapple with the power of digital platforms, and associated questions of accountability, transparency, market dominance and content regulation. The EU Hate Speech monitoring code, the Christchurch Call, the UK Online Harms Bill, and Australia’s ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry are manifestations of this trend. But there hangs a question around such initiatives of the appropriateness of national governments as regulators of Internet content, and associated risks in terms of freedom of expression and governmental power as compared to corporate power. In this presentation, we will consider different conceptual premises for understanding platform power, arising from neo-pluralist, class and elite theories, as well as the relative significance of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nation-state governments, corporate self-regulation (e.g. Facebook Oversight Board), and supranational governance mechanisms, such as Tim Berners-Lee’s proposed ‘Contract for the Web’.