Anders als analog: Wir brauchen eine maßgeschneiderte Plattform-Regulierung ("We need tailored platform regulation")
Commentary by Julian Jaursch in the journal "Internationale Politik", issue #2/2021.
Especially after the violent intrusion into the U.S. Capitol in January 2021, international debate intensified on what rules should apply to digital platforms. Reforms are being considered in several countries and at the EU level. In this piece, SNV project director Julian Jaursch argues that a stand-alone regulatory approach to digital platforms is needed and that it is not enough to just expand analog structures.
To complement the article, below are selected sources on the topics discussed in the piece (in the order they appear in the article):
Sources on the events in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021:
- Kate Conger, Mike Isaac, January 2021, The New York Times: Twitter Permanently Bans Trump, Capping Online Revolt
- Nani Jansen Reventlow, February 2021, Lilith: The power of social media platforms: Who gets to have their say online?
- First Draft News, January 2021: (Public) Jan 6. Capitol Events: Platform Response
- Jane Lytvynenko, Molly Hensley-Clancy, January 2021, Buzzfeed News: The Rioters Who Took Over The Capitol Have Been Planning Online In The Open For Weeks
- Heidi Tworek, January 2021, Centre for International Governance Innovation: The Dangerous Inconsistencies of Digital Platform Policies
Too little attention to non-US/EU regions and minority voices when it comes to disinformation and platform regulation:
- Rachelle Hampton, April 2019, Slate: The Black Feminists Who Saw the Alt-Right Threat Coming
- Dhanaraj Thakur, DeVan Hankerson Madrigal, February 2021, Center for Democracy & Technology: Facts and their Discontents: A Research Agenda for Online Disinformation, Race, and Gender
- Privacy International, 2020: Online political ads: A study of inequality in transparency standards
- NGO-Statement, January 2021: Statement from global civil society on the impact of Facebook, Google and Twitter: Concern for democracy and human rights must not end at the US’s borders
Debates on reforming broadcasting and liability rules in the US:
- Zoe Bedell, John Major, July 2020, Lawfare Blog: What’s Next for Section 230? A Roundup of Proposals
- Paul M. Barrett, September 2020, New York University: Regulating Social Media: The Fight Over Section 230 – and Beyond
- John Hendel, January 2021, POLITICO: How Trump’s fights with tech transformed Republicans’ beliefs on free speech
Media regulatory reform in Germany:
- Jan Christopher Kalbhenn, Februar 2020, Centre for Media Pluralism and Freedom: New Diversity Rules for Social Media in Germany
Censorship in China:
- Karoline Kan, Marco Silva, August 2019, BBC: China social media censorship: how does it work?
Focus on "engagement" in social networks (and its potentially negative effects):
- Facebook, January 2021: Hinweise zu Newsfeed-Algorithmen
- Dipayan Ghosh, June 2020: Terms of Disservice
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, July 2019: Digital platforms inquiry - final report
- Amnesty International, November 2019: Surveillance giants: How the business model of Google and Facebook threatens human rights
Proposal for a Digital Services Act (DSA) in the EU:
- Europäische Kommission, December 2020: Gesetzentwurf
- Aline Blankertz, Julian Jaursch, January 2021, TechStream: What the European DSA and DMA proposals mean for online platforms
Dark patterns and their potential effects:
- Sebastian Rieger, Caroline Sinders, May 2020, SNV: Dark Patterns: Regulating Digital Design
- Neima Jahromi, July 2019, The New Yorker: The Fight for the Future of YouTube
- Ranking Digital Rights, July 2019: Consultation Draft – Human rights risk scenarios: Algorithms, machine learning and automateddecision-making
- Paul Rosenberg im Gespräch mit Philipp Lorenz-Spreen, July 2018, Salon: Remember when the internet was supposed to be transparent and democratic? There’s still hope
- Ada Lovelace Institute, February 2020: Inspecting algorithms in social media platforms
Arguments for a new regulatory framework specifically for digital platforms:
- Ellen P. Goodman, February 2020, Knight First Amendment Institute: Digital Information Fidelity and Friction
- Emily Bazelon, January 2021, The New York Times: Why Is Big Tech Policing Speech? Because the Government Isn’t
- Becca Lewis, January 2021, Business Insider: The Trump ban across social media wasn't censorship – it was a series of editorial decisions by media companies that call themselves social platforms
- Tom Wheeler, February 2021, Brookings: A focused federal agency is necessary to oversee Big Tech
- Längere, ausführlichere Version siehe Tom Wheeler, Phil Verveer, Gene Kimmelman, August 2020, Harvard University: New Digital Realities, New Oversight Solutions in the U.S.: The Case for a Digital Platform Agency anda New Approach to Regulatory Oversight
- Ben Evans, January 2021: Online speech and publishing
In addition on the German level, the “Weißbuch Digitale Plattformen” from the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs (2017) and the “Datenethikkommission” (2019) proposed specialized agency for digital policy issues. Suggestions from academia included a “Internetintendanz” (Christoph Bieber, Leonhard Dobusch and Jörg Müller-Lietzkow, 2019) and an oversight structure for platforms (Ulrich Dolata, 2019).
In France, an expert group offered ideas for an oversight framework reliant on transparency obligations, after months-long investigations within Facebook (May 2019).
Dr. Julian Jaursch