Academic Studies

This resource section has leant heavily on the "Platform companies and news media" section of the reading list curated by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

Journal of Democracy – Tucker, J. A., Theocharis, Y., Roberts, M. E., & Barberá, P.

How can one technology—social media—simultaneously give rise to hopes for liberation in authoritarian regimes, be used for repression by these same regimes, and be harnessed by antisystem actors in democracy? We present a simple framework for reconciling these contradictory developments based on two propositions: 1) that social media give voice to those previously excluded from political discussion by traditional media, and 2) that although social media democratize access to information, the platforms themselves are neither inherently democratic nor nondemocratic, but represent a tool political actors can use for a variety of goals, including, paradoxically, illiberal goals.

Oxford University Press – JOSÉ VAN DIJCK, Thomas Poell, and Martijn de Waal. 2018.

Individuals all over the world can use Airbnb to rent an apartment in a foreign city, check Coursera to find a course on statistics, join PatientsLikeMe to exchange information about one's disease, hail a cab using Uber, or read the news through Facebook's Instant Articles. The promise of connective platforms is that they offer personalized services and contribute to innovation and economic growth, while bypassing cumbersome institutional or industrial overhead. In The Platform Society, Van Dijck, Poell and De Waal offer a comprehensive analysis of a connective world where platforms have penetrated the heart of societies-disrupting markets and labor relations, circumventing institutions, transforming social and civic practices and affecting democratic processes. This book questions what role online platforms play in the organization of Western societies. First, how do platform mechanisms work and to what effect are they deployed? Second, how can platforms incorporate public values and benefit the public good?

A book review is available here.

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