Networked Platform Governance: The Construction of the Democratic Platform

Robyn Caplan


Over the last several years, concerns about the credibility or trustworthiness of information online have been mounting. At the center of these concerns were questions about the role platform companies—particularly search and social media—should play in controlling access to information online. This article explores the ways that platform companies are trying to distribute the responsibility for content policy making to external stakeholders in response to concerns about their unilateral control and proposes that platforms are deploying a brokered form of network governance that presents opportunities for platform governance but also new concerns for accountability. Using a discourse analysis of public statements from platform companies, as well as corporate documents, it examines three ways in which platforms position their relationships with external stakeholder groups and communicate their relational power, to examine the ways in which the language of network governance is used to gesture toward inclusivity and participation in content policy making and to address resource and functional gaps when operating at scale.


platform governance, platforms, Facebook, content moderation, trust and safety

Full Text: