Introducing an ISP-WIII essay series exploring the terms and concepts that constitute Platform Governance.
Platform Governance refers to the policy, technical, and design decisions impacting a global network of internet users. However, there is presently no single source bringing together the diverse perspectives on the terminology used in Platform Governance. Terms like 'online harm, and 'terrorist content' are difficult to define and regulate. Words like 'engagement' and 'amplification' serve as euphemisms for features that have had a significant impact on democracy and human rights. There are many different stakeholders involved in shaping these terms, such as governments, companies, courts, civil society, and academics, but often not in coherence. The terms constituting Platform Governance engage with power dynamics and cultural interpretations to create and perpetuate certain technical, political, and legal approaches. This is why a shared understanding is needed to connect the diverse understandings of Platform Governance.
The Platform Governance Terminologies Essay Series brings together scholars from a variety of backgrounds to contribute critical thinking in this area. This Essay Series introduces a selection of key terms and concepts in Platform Governance. It aims to provide academics, civil society, and platforms a forum to learn about and discuss the challenges to defining and understanding platform governance, to confront core assumptions about the scope of key terms, and to propose ways to align diverse approaches to these terms.
Mehtab Khan, Program Director — Wikimedia Initiative on Intermediaries and Information