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Law, Society and Digital Platforms: Normative Aspects of Large-scale Data-Driven Tech Companies

Larsson, Stefan LU (2018) The RCSL-SDJ Lisbon Meeting 2018 "Law and Citizenship Beyond The States”
Abstract (Swedish)
It is increasingly apparent that technology and online platforms entail and communicate normativity. Lawrence Lessig has described this in terms of 'code as law' and thereby pointing to the fact that there is an ongoing shift of power from nation states to tech companies, and José van Dijck has shown how the Big Five - Google (Alphabet), Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft - represents a neo-liberal American value system. Further, platforms penetrate every sector (governmental, private, non-profit etc.) of society, and at the same time, through ownership and partnership, they progressively are growing into strong oligopolies. Examples are the urban transport sector, news, health, education and job-matching. The sector-specific platforms... (More)
It is increasingly apparent that technology and online platforms entail and communicate normativity. Lawrence Lessig has described this in terms of 'code as law' and thereby pointing to the fact that there is an ongoing shift of power from nation states to tech companies, and José van Dijck has shown how the Big Five - Google (Alphabet), Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft - represents a neo-liberal American value system. Further, platforms penetrate every sector (governmental, private, non-profit etc.) of society, and at the same time, through ownership and partnership, they progressively are growing into strong oligopolies. Examples are the urban transport sector, news, health, education and job-matching. The sector-specific platforms such as Uber, Airbnb, MyFitnessPal, Udemy or LinkedIn are almost always dependent on or allied with one of the big five.

The digital platforms operate through what media researcher Jonas Andersson Schwarz has called a platform “logic”, that is, including being internet-based, highly data-driven, large-scale and algorithmically automated and serving a business model. The larger ones takes on an infrastructural character on a macro level, as a platforms-based “superstructures” or “ecologies” - platforms-of-platforms. This gatekeeping character is combined with the essence of exercising its dominance through a “code-based control”, leads to that they in fact becomes “lawmakers”, in a non-governmental sense, which needs further socio-legal scrutiny from a number of perspectives.

This paper focuses the normative ‘lawmaking’ aspects of large-scale platforms. By clearly acknowledging the distribution of norms by large platforms we emphasize the need to critically assess and re-conceptualize how these are designed into these platforms and what it means for the national state as normative source. The paper thereby addresses the “algorithmic accountability” that increasingly are called for, debating how to study and understand accountability for automated services, as well as the lack of transparency the platforms often bring in terms of normative decision-making. (Less)
Abstract
It is increasingly apparent that technology and online platforms entail and communicate normativity. Lawrence Lessig has described this in terms of 'code as law' and thereby pointing to the fact that there is an ongoing shift of power from nation states to tech companies, and José van Dijck has shown how the Big Five - Google (Alphabet), Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft - represents a neo-liberal American value system. Further, platforms penetrate every sector (governmental, private, non-profit etc.) of society, and at the same time, through ownership and partnership, they progressively are growing into strong oligopolies. Examples are the urban transport sector, news, health, education and job-matching. The sector-specific platforms... (More)
It is increasingly apparent that technology and online platforms entail and communicate normativity. Lawrence Lessig has described this in terms of 'code as law' and thereby pointing to the fact that there is an ongoing shift of power from nation states to tech companies, and José van Dijck has shown how the Big Five - Google (Alphabet), Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft - represents a neo-liberal American value system. Further, platforms penetrate every sector (governmental, private, non-profit etc.) of society, and at the same time, through ownership and partnership, they progressively are growing into strong oligopolies. Examples are the urban transport sector, news, health, education and job-matching. The sector-specific platforms such as Uber, Airbnb, MyFitnessPal, Udemy or LinkedIn are almost always dependent on or allied with one of the big five.
The digital platforms operate through what media researcher Jonas Andersson Schwarz has called a platform “logic”, that is, including being internet-based, highly data-driven, large-scale and algorithmically automated and serving a business model. The larger ones takes on an infrastructural character on a macro level, as a platforms-based “superstructures” or “ecologies” - platforms-of-platforms. This gatekeeping character is combined with the essence of exercising its dominance through a “code-based control”, leads to that they in fact becomes “lawmakers”, in a non-governmental sense, which needs further socio-legal scrutiny from a number of perspectives.
This paper focuses the normative ‘lawmaking’ aspects of large-scale platforms. By clearly acknowledging the distribution of norms by large platforms we emphasize the need to critically assess and re-conceptualize how these are designed into these platforms and what it means for the national state as normative source. The paper thereby addresses the “algorithmic accountability” that increasingly are called for, debating how to study and understand accountability for automated services, as well as the lack of transparency the platforms often bring in terms of normative decision-making. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
platforms, digital platforms, liability, law, norms, artificial intelligence, machine learning, algorithmic accountability, content moderation, Online platform
conference name
The RCSL-SDJ Lisbon Meeting 2018 "Law and Citizenship Beyond The States”
conference location
Lisbon, Portugal
conference dates
2018-09-10 - 2018-09-13
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c38b06db-e55d-4481-a813-396032fd9caf
alternative location
https://www.rcsl-sdj-lisbon2018.com/single-post/2017/09/16/4156-Contemporary-Challenges-to-Law-and-Development-Sustainability-and-Resistance
date added to LUP
2018-09-14 10:08:06
date last changed
2018-11-21 21:41:40
@misc{c38b06db-e55d-4481-a813-396032fd9caf,
  abstract     = {It is increasingly apparent that technology and online platforms entail and communicate normativity. Lawrence Lessig has described this in terms of 'code as law' and thereby pointing to the fact that there is an ongoing shift of power from nation states to tech companies, and José van Dijck has shown how the Big Five - Google (Alphabet), Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft - represents a neo-liberal American value system. Further, platforms penetrate every sector (governmental, private, non-profit etc.) of society, and at the same time, through ownership and partnership, they progressively are growing into strong oligopolies. Examples are the urban transport sector, news, health, education and job-matching. The sector-specific platforms such as Uber, Airbnb, MyFitnessPal, Udemy or LinkedIn are almost always dependent on or allied with one of the big five.<br/>The digital platforms operate through what media researcher Jonas Andersson Schwarz has called a platform “logic”, that is, including being internet-based, highly data-driven, large-scale and algorithmically automated and serving a business model. The larger ones takes on an infrastructural character on a macro level, as a platforms-based “superstructures” or “ecologies” - platforms-of-platforms. This gatekeeping character is combined with the essence of exercising its dominance through a “code-based control”, leads to that they in fact becomes “lawmakers”, in a non-governmental sense, which needs further socio-legal scrutiny from a number of perspectives.<br/>This paper focuses the normative ‘lawmaking’ aspects of large-scale platforms. By clearly acknowledging the distribution of norms by large platforms we emphasize the need to critically assess and re-conceptualize how these are designed into these platforms and what it means for the national state as normative source. The paper thereby addresses the “algorithmic accountability” that increasingly are called for, debating how to study and understand accountability for automated services, as well as the lack of transparency the platforms often bring in terms of normative decision-making.},
  author       = {Larsson, Stefan},
  keyword      = {platforms,digital platforms,liability,law,norms,artificial intelligence,machine learning,algorithmic accountability,content moderation,Online platform},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Lisbon, Portugal},
  month        = {09},
  title        = {Law, Society and Digital Platforms: Normative Aspects of Large-scale Data-Driven Tech Companies},
  year         = {2018},
}