The Politics of Platforms
Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum 600 South Gregory Street Urbana
If the character of public discourse, long chaperoned by the broadcast networks and major publishers, is now increasingly in the hands of online media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Flickr, then we must ask some quite old questions about how these commercial information providers navigate protecting free speech, meeting community standards, avoiding legal liability for their content, and pursuing their own business imperatives. But if broadcasters and publishers are in the business of editorial selection, online media platforms are in a different business, one that eschews selection for comprehensiveness. So how do sites that aspire to host all the world's content, that champion the ordinary users that help fill their archives, and benefit deeply to the degree that they can promise "everything," also make choices about what does not belong there? How do these sites attempt to be both everything and not everything, what techniques do they employ, and by what justifications do they legitimate their policies?
Department of Communication, Cornell University