UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


The Politics of Platform Regulation: How Governments Shape Online Content Moderation

03 May 2024, 4:00 pm–5:30 pm

Politics of Platform Regulation

Join UCL IIPP in conversation with Dr Robert Gorwa, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Berlin Social Science Center, for a panel discussion on the book 'The Politics of Platform Regulation: How Governments Shape Online Content Moderation' with discussant Marisol Manfredi, PhD Candidate of Sustainable Development & Climate Change (IUSS Pavia + University of Pisa) and chair Dr Cecilia Rikap, Head of Research, UCL IIPP.

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Join this fascinating discussion on Friday 3rd May 2024 at 16:00-17:30 (BST) at University College London (UCL) and online on Zoom (link shared closer to the event).

About this talk:

As digital platforms have become more integral to not just how we live, but also to how we do politics, the rules governing online expression, behaviour, and interaction created by large multinational technology firms --- popularly termed ‘content moderation,’ ‘platform governance,’ or ‘trust and safety’ --- have increasingly become the target of government regulatory efforts seeking to shape them.

This book (coming soon) provides a conceptual and empirical analysis of this important and emerging tech policy terrain of ‘platform regulation.’ How, why, and where exactly is it happening? Why now? And how do we best understand the vast array of strategies being deployed across jurisdictions to tackle this issue? The book outlines three strategies commonly pursued by government actors seeking to combat issues relating to the proliferation of hate speech, disinformation, child abuse imagery, and other forms of harmful content on user-generated content platforms: persuasive, collaborative, and contested forms of platform regulation. It then outlines a theoretical model for explaining the adoption of these different strategies in different political contexts and regulatory episodes. This model is explored through case studies of policy development (Germany, Australia and New Zealand, United States) driven by a combination of stakeholder interviews and deliberative policy documents obtained via freedom of information requests.

Meet the panel:

  • Speaker: Dr Robert Gorwa | Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center
  • Discussant: Marisol Manfredi | PhD Candidate of Sustainable Development & Climate Change (IUSS Pavia + University of Pisa)
  • Chair: Dr Cecilia Rikap | Head of Research and Associate Professor in Economics at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP)

There will be a drinks reception after the event to continue the discussion informally.

Read more about IIPP Conversations 2023-24

About the Speakers

Dr Robert Gorwa

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Berlin Social Science Center

Dr Robert Gorwa is a postdoctoral researcher at the Berlin Social Science Center. He conducts interdisplinary empirical and conceptual research addressing the politics of technology policy (making, negotiating, and enforcing), with a special interest in platform governance and emerging socio-technical regulatory arrangements in the digital economy. He received his doctorate from the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, and has held fellowships and research positions at institutions that include the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT, in Washington), the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI, in Waterloo), the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Oxford, and Stanford University's Project on Democracy and the Internet. His first book, The Politics of Platform Regulation: How Governments Shape Online Content Moderation, comes out in early 2024 with Oxford University Press. More about Dr Robert Gorwa

Dr Cecilia Rikap

Head of Research and Associate Professor in Economics at UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

Cecilia Rikap
Cecilia Rikap (PhD in economics from the Universidad de Buenos Aires) is associate professor in Economics and Head of Research at IIPP- UCL. Until joining UCL, she was a permanent Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy (IPE) at City, University of London and programme director of the BSc in IPE at the same university. She is a tenure researcher of the CONICET, Argentina’s national research council, and associate researcher at COSTECH lab, Université de Technologie de Compiègne.

Cecilia’s research is rooted in the international political economy of science and technology and the economics of innovation. She currently studies the rising concentration of intangible assets leading to the emergence of intellectual monopolies, among others from digital and pharma industries, the distribution of intellectual (including data) rents, resulting geopolitical tensions and the effects of knowledge assetization on the knowledge commons and development. She has published two books on these topics. 1) “Capitalism, Power and Innovation: Intellectual Monopoly Capitalism uncovered” (Routledge), recently won the EAEPE Joan Robinson Prize Competition. 2) “The Digital Innovation Race: Conceptualizing the Emerging New World Order” (Palgrave), co-authored with B.A.K. Lundvall, focuses on the artificial intelligence race and clashes of power between the US and Chinese Big Tech, the US state and the Chinese states. Her recent work includes corporate planning of global production and innovation systems driven by intellectual monopolization and how these leading corporations, in particular tech giants, are developing state-like features, thus reshaping core and peripheral states. More about Dr Cecilia Rikap

Marisol Manfredi

PhD Candidate of Sustainable Development & Climate Change at IUSS Pavia and University of Pisa

Marisol Manfredi
Marisol Manfredi is a PhD Candidate from the School of Advanced Studies of Pavia in Sustainable Development and Climate Change doctoral program.

She graduated in Economics at the National University of Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina and holds an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree on “Economic Policies for the Global Transition”, specialized in track A: Innovation, Knowledge and Digital Transition from Sorbonne Université, Université de Technologie de Compiègne and Università degli Studi di Torino.

She had work teaching and researching in her former University for 7 years, and she had also worked in the Ministry of Development in Argentina for 3 years and in the public/private company YPF in Argentina for 2 years as a consumer insight of future trends.

Her primer research focuses on the notion of well-being and needs and its relation with the ecological transition. She focuses on the notion of ‘how much is enough’ in order to establish limits to material consumption for building sustainable well-being policies to address climate change. From now onwards, she will also focus on the “The Dark Side of innovation”, to research deeply the innovations that are being created inside R&D Labs, focusing on the components used through the analysis of patents, with the aim of protecting the environment and the sustainability of human life, closing and important gap between the velocity of the processes of innovation, that extends national borders, and the slower rhythms of national/ regional policy regulations.

More about Marisol Manfredi