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Free Content Internet regulation as media policy: Rethinking the question of digital communication platform governance

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This article identifies the current global ‘techlash’ towards the major digital and social media platforms as providing the context for a renewed debate about whether these digital platform companies are effectively media companies (publishers and broadcasters of media content), and implications this has for twenty-first-century media policy. It identifies content moderation as a critical site around which such debates are being played out, and considers the challenges arising as national and regionally based regulatory options are considered for digital platforms that are ‘born global’. It considers the shifting balance between the ‘social contract’ of public interest obligations and democratic rights of free speech and freedom of expression.
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Keywords: classification; content moderation; digital platforms; intermediaries; media policy; media regulation; platform capitalism; platform governance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Queensland University of Technology 2: University of Sydney

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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  • The Journal of Digital Media and Policy (formerly known asĀ International Journal of Digital Television) aims to analyse and explain the socio-cultural, political, economic and technological questions surrounding digital media and address the policy issues facing regulators globally. This double-blind-peer-reviewed journal brings together and shares the work of academics, policy-makers and practitioners, offering lessons from one another's experience. Content is broad and varied, ranging from a mixture of critical work on technology, industry and regulatory convergence, to the emerging wider socio-cultural and political questions such as the application of online networks, the rise of cloud computing and the Internet of Things. We intend to examine critically emerging wider questions such as the role of 'digital citizens', the regulatory environment for the new platform industry and the role of state regulation in an increasingly global media industry.
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