The emergence of platform regulation in the UK: an empirical-legal study

Kretschmer, M. , Furgał, U. and Schlesinger, P. (2022) The emergence of platform regulation in the UK: an empirical-legal study. Weizenbaum Journal of the Digital Society, 2(2), w2.2.4. (doi: 10.34669/wi.wjds/2.2.4)

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Online platforms have emerged as a new kind of regulatory object. In this article, we empirically map the emergence of the field of platform regulation in one country: the United Kingdom (UK). We focus on the 18-month period between September 2018 and February 2020 when an upsurge of regulatory activism reflected increasing sensitivity to national sovereignty in the context of Brexit. Through an empirical–legal content analysis of eight official reports issued by the UK government, parliamentary committees, and regulatory agencies, we code the online harms to which regulation is being asked to respond; identify relevant subject domains of law (such as data protection and privacy, competition, education, media and broadcasting, consumer protection, tax law and financial regulation, intellectual property law, security law); and analyze the agencies referred in the reports for their centrality in the regulatory network and their regulatory powers. Drawing on Bourdieu’s notion of “field,” we observe the emergence of regulators with investigatory and enforcement powers that stand in mutually unstable power relations to each other as well as vis-à-vis shifting executive and legislative interventions. Online platforms appear to acquire authority to exercise state powers.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The research has been sup-ported by AHRC Centre of Excellence for Policy & Evidence in the Creative Industries (PEC) (reference: AH/S001298/1) and Kretschmer’s Weizenbaum fellowship.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kretschmer, Professor Martin and Furgal, Dr Ula and Schlesinger, Professor Philip
Authors: Kretschmer, M., Furgał, U., and Schlesinger, P.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Weizenbaum Journal of the Digital Society
Publisher:Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society - the German Internet Institute
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Weizenbaum Journal of the Digital Society2(2):w2.2.4
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
303123Centre of Excellence for Policy and Evidence in the Creative Industries (PEC)Martin KretschmerArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/S001298/1CREATe