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Platform Governance in Comparative Perspective

Freedom of speech is increasingly mediated by a small set of social media platforms that operate under different national or regional governance regimes. At the front end of speech moderation is the governance by platforms, cemented in community guidelines and terms of service, as well as in socio-technical tools like user flagging or reporting, outsourced human content moderators, and fact-checking organizations. These have come under question by a growing body of scholarship for their lack of transparency and effectiveness. Moreover, as a response to persistent hate speech and misinformation in social media, national governments (both democratic and otherwise) are escalating the governance of platforms through legislation that threatens to fragment and territorialize the global Internet.

This project seeks to examine how the governance of platforms interacts with the governance by platforms from an international comparative perspective. By examining case studies across regions and topics, it seeks to uncover regulatory patterns that contribute to our understanding of platform governance at a global scale.