Our working definition of a digital platform (with a hat tip to Harold Feld of Public Knowledge) is an online service that operates as a two-sided or multi-sided market with at least one side that is “open” to the mass market

Time to Fix It: Developing Rules for Internet Capitalism

It is time for the technology industry to compromise on regulations — specifically around privacy, competition, and operational openness. Responsible corporate action must now extend beyond the voluntary commitments that have governed the first decades of the digital era. Since the earliest days of the internet, policymakers have been afraid to touch it, subscribing to the mythology that somehow they could break the magic. But the effects of digital dominance on privacy, competition, and openness are now clear for all the see.

14% of Americans have changed their mind about an issue because of something they saw on social media

For most Americans, exposure to different content and ideas on social media has not caused them to change their opinions. But a small share of the public – 14% – say they have changed their views about a political or social issue in the past year because of something they saw on social media, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted May 29-June 11.

Major Internet Companies As News Editors

As part of its ongoing Trust, Media and Democracy initiative, the John S. and James L.Knight Foundation partnered with Gallup to ask a representative sample of US adults for their views on the news editorial functions played by major internet companies. From a broad perspective, Americans credit major internet companies for connecting people and helping them become better-informed. At the same time, they are concerned about their role in spreading misinformation and in potentially limiting exposure to different viewpoints.

Sen. Warner’s Platform Regulation: A good step forward, but what about ISPs?

Sen Mark Warner’s (D-VA) proposals to regulate social media platforms are by far the most ambitious to come from Congress. ProMarket gathered three experts to discuss the pros and cons. Below is the reaction of Beton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate Gigi Sohn:

Watchdog group 'Campaign for Accountability' Calls for Investigation of Big Tech Imbeds in Political Campaigns

Watchdog group Campaign for Accountability is calling for an investigation into political campaigns' use of "imbedded" Facebook and Google staffers. It wants the House and Senate Rules Committees to investigate the practice and whether new laws are needed to prevent what it says are edge providers "abusing their relationships" with Washington. 

Would Sen. Warner’s Ambitious Plan to Regulate Social Media Giants “Ruin” the Internet—Or Save it?

Sen. Mark Warner’s proposals to regulate social media platforms are by far the most ambitious to come from Congress.  Here, three experts discuss the pros and cons: 1) Beton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate Gigi Sohn. She is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy. 2) Daniel Crane, an antitrust law expert and the Frederick Paul Furth Sr. Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. 3) Hal Singer, an antitrust economist and senior fellow of the George Washington Institute of Public Policy.

Platforms Are Not Publishers

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the internet are not media. They are something new we do not yet fully understand. To call these platforms publishers is to presume that their task is merely to produce content. It is to presume, then, that the internet should be produced, packaged, and polished, and that when someone says something bad anywhere on it then the entire internet is beschmutzed. The larger question, of course, is what the internet is and how it fits into society and society into it. We are just beginning to see what it can be.

Gatekeepers or Censors? How Tech Manages Online Speech

Apple, Google and Facebook erased from their services many — but not all — videos, podcasts and posts from the right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars site. And Twitter left Jones’s posts untouched. The differing approaches to Jones exposed how unevenly tech companies enforce their rules on hate speech and offensive content. There are only a few cases in which the companies appear to consistently apply their policies, such as their ban on child pornography and instances in which the law required them to remove content, like Nazi imagery in Germany.

Free Speech Scholars to Alex Jones: You’re Not Protected

Not long after several of the country’s biggest tech firms — Apple, Facebook and Google — kicked the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones off their various online platforms, Jones’s allies complained that he had been deprived of his First Amendment rights to free speech. Several scholars of free speech had already concluded that many of the things he has said online were not in fact protected by the First Amendment. 

First Amendment advocates urge change in Facebook platform rules

A group of First Amendment advocates has urged Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to change the social media giant’s platform rules to enable public service journalism and research on its platform. The issue is especially pressing as reporters and researchers investigate Russian interference in the midterm elections through platforms such as Facebook’s.