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Entries in platforms (1)

Monday
Sep172018

New approaches to regulating online platforms

Mark Bunting has published two papers, in the Journal of Cyber Policy and Intermedia, discussing policy regarding online platforms (linked to other Communications Chambers work for Apple and Sky).

 

Both articles consider possible regulatory responses to the role of digital platforms in governing online markets and as gatekeepers to online content and communication. Platforms bring huge benefits of choice, openness and efficiency. But with concerns growing about the risks, unintended consequences and abuse of open platforms, many governments are considering what form of regulation may be needed. However, bad regulation may be worse than no regulation at all.

 

Intermedia (the journal of the International Institute of Communications) has published a paper coauthored by Victoria Nash (Oxford Internet Institute) and Mark. They argue that effective oversight of platforms requires creative, robust but proportionate regulation. The benefits of platforms should not come at the expense of citizen, consumer or worker rights. Yet platforms are diverse and raise novel concerns. Lifting-and-shifting old regulation to new models is unlikely to be effective. Problems need to be evidenced and solutions developed collaboratively.

 

In the Journal of Cyber Policy (subscription only, but eprints available from Mark at mark@commcham.com), Mark coins the term 'procedural accountability' to describe a way for platforms to achieve legitimacy in their handling of harmful or illegal content, without being held to unrealistic standards of perfection. Platforms are not publishers, and should not be held generally liable for content uploaded by their users. But their role in monitoring and filtering content, and in making judgements about its legality, is increasingly significant. New institutional arrangements will be required to assess the impacts of this activity and ensure due process.