new project: fake news and content regulation on and by platforms

In September 2017 I started a new small research project, together with Vidushi Marda from the Center for Internet & Society in Bangalore. The project, funded by the Internet Policy Observatory of the Annenberg School of Communication (UPenn), is titled "Content Regulation on and by Platforms: Rethinking Internet Governance vis-à-vis the Platformization of the Web". The starting point is the observation that the solutions proposed by diverse stakeholders to the problem of fake news seem to go in the wrong direction--that of content regulation largely through platforms. Is this process accompanied by adequate safeguards protecting, e.g., free speech? While regulation of content was traditionally carried out by governments and internet governance processes subject to safeguards under national and international law and policy, the private sector is not subject to these same safeguards. Our project asks: How is the nature of content regulation on and by platforms different from traditional regulation of content? What impact do they have on digital rights and internet freedoms? What standards and guidelines do these platforms follow, if any? How do these compare with international and national legal frameworks? But we also ask whether current internet governance frameworks and processes still find relevance in the age of platformization of the internet. Where does content regulation happen today, how, and why? Do multistakeholder decision-making, and civil society participation in particular, provide adequate oversight for private agreements such as contracts? Can content regulation on and by platforms be informed by multistakeholder perspectives? A dedicated mini-site will soon be online--stay tuned? We will also host a workshop at the forthcoming Internet Governance Forum.