Digital Platform Regulation: Beyond Transparency and Openness
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 Export to Your Calendar 5/26/2020
When: Tuesday, May 26, 2020
8:30 AM
Where: Griffith University Gold Coast Campus
Contact: Terry Flew

Online registration is available until: 5/1/2020
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As online activities and experiences are increasingly mediated through digital platforms, a series of scandals and ‘public shocks’ (Ananny & Gillespie, 2017) have raised concerns about privacy and security, the misuse of user data, algorithmic biases, and the public distribution of objectionable and sometimes abhorrent content through the internet (Flew, Martin, & Suzor, 2019). Legislators and regulators in many countries are now engaged in public enquiries and the development of new laws to apply public interest standards to digital platforms, as First Amendment arguments about freedom of online expression and claims that the platforms are simply intermediaries are increasingly under challenge (Napoli, 2019). Leading scholars have identified digital platforms as being central to 21st century communication and media policy (Just & Puppis, 2018; Picard & Pickard, 2017), and debates about the relationship between individual rights and social responsibilities for digital platforms have been noticeably shifting from the quasi-libertarian logics of only a decade ago (Gillespie, 2018). At the same time, there is a lack of consensus about what digital platform regulation could, or should involve. It is unclear, for instance, whether it should involve a refining of existing forms of communications and media policy to incorporate the role now played by digital platforms as quasi-publishers of increasingly popular digital media content, or whether the principal issues such as monopoly power and consumer protection are best addressed by variants of economic policy e.g. proposals to treat digital platforms as ‘information fiduciaries’ in their handling of user data (Balkin, 2018; Dobkin, 2018). The balance between nation-state regulation and supranational governance is also a subject of considerable debate, as is the extent to which ‘soft law’, and platform-brokered arrangements such as the Twitter Trust & Safety Council and the proposed Facebook Oversight board may substitute for nation-state regulation. At a time of growing tensions among leading world powers, the divergence between forms of internet governance, and the possibility of a global ‘splinternet’ also needs to be considered (Mueller, 2017). This proposed ICA post-conference will bring together academics, activists and policy-makers from a number of countries. Among those who have indicated a willingness to participate are Kristyna Rozgonyi (U. Vienna), Amanda Lotz (QUT), Victor Pickard (Annenberg U. Penn), Dwayne Winseck (Carleton U.), David Hesmondhalgh (U. Leeds), Josef Trappel (U. Salzburg), Sandra Braman (TAMU), Ramon Lobato (RMIT), Sora Park (U. Cambera), and Stuart Cunningham (QUT). The event will be supported by the Australian Research Council, QUT Digital Media Research Centre, Griffith Unviersity Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Communications Law & Policy Division of the ICA, Media Industries Interest Group of the ICA. In addition to academic presentations, we are looking to convene a lunch-time policy-makers forum, with representatives of the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA), Deaprtment of Communcition and the Arts, the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Publication outcomes are under consideration including a special issue of the journal Global Perspectves on “Trust in the Digital Economy”, to be edited by Terry Flew and Sora Park.