"The platform system ... is moored in paradoxes: it looks egalitarian yet is hierarchical; it is almost entirely corporate, but appears to serve public value; it seems neutral and agnostic, but its architecture carries a particular set of ideological values; it's effects appear local, while its scope and impact are global; it appears to replace 'top down' 'big government' with 'bottom-up' 'customer empowerment' yet it is doing so by means of a highly centralized structure which remains opaque to its users."

Show thread

Infrastructural vs sectoral platforms: the latter provides services for a single, specific sector, the former provides the underlying or enabling services that make it possible.

Show thread

A platform can be both infrastructural and sectoral, depending on what it does and how it relates to other platforms.

Show thread

“We should not accept the hybrid or fluid reality of platform ecologies as an excuse to get rid of ... distinctions between public and private, state and market; ...these ... are still very meaningful when it comes to grounding societal orders. Now that a large part of the world is getting used to an infrastructural ecosystem which is principally designed, owned, and operated by global private corporations, we need to be extra vigilant as to what happens to public values and the common good.”

Show thread

“The ecosystem itself - the way it is cemented in an architecture of algorithms, business models, and user activity - is not neutral; on the contrary, the ideological tenants inscribed in ecosystems architecture put a formidable stamp on what constitutes public value and whose interests are served."

Show thread

"...the Big Five companies can no longer take for granted their initial treatment as affable startups working in the interest of individuals and communities. Instead, they increasingly present themselves as social actors that may have private stakes in the ecosystem but that have responsibilities akin to governments when it comes to procuring public value."

Show thread

"...'s claim to create a global community, while perhaps laudable in itself, betrays an expansive worldview that implicitly questions the relevance of government and states in organizing liberal democracies."

Show thread

"Platforms are too important to leave their regulation to self-labeled operators and users; civil society, citizens, and governments have big stakes in a fair, democratic, and responsible platform society."

Show thread

"Social media virality can transform a small protest into a national movement, whereas invisibility condemns it to obscurity. Thus, platform mechanisms affect the futures of social movements, as they do of many other social actors..."

Show thread

"Platforms do not merely "measure" certain sentiments, thoughts, and performances but also trigger and mold them, both physically through their user interfaces."

Show thread

"It has been argued that the continuous data exchange through platforms enables a new kind of consciousness - an "ambient virtual co-presence" where users are aware of what others are doing, experiencing, and exchanging. This can especially be observed in the news sector, where the continuous stream of updates and emotions has been understood as a form of "ambient journalism".

Show thread

"... the mechanism of datafication is beginning to play a central role in the configuration of social relations. Platform corporations expand their collecting and processing of data to track and predict an ever wider variety of users' performances, sentiments, transactions, informal exchanges, and activities."

Show thread

"The social, economic, and public value of data exchange is inscribed in its real-time and predictive character, allowing platform operators to directly track and influence streams of traffic, public opinions and sentiments..."

Show thread

Now we're getting to it.

"The mechanism of commodification involves platforms transforming online and offline objects, activities, emotions, and ideas into tradable commodities. These commodities are valued through at least four different types of currency: attention, data, users, and money."

Show thread

A "multisided market" is one in which "a platform aggregates, facilitates, and controls the connections and transactions between distinct groups of users: end users are connected with advertisers as well as with service providers or complementors, ranging from micro-entrepreneurs to news organizations and universities."

Show thread

"To succeed as a multisided market, a platform must link as many users to their respective sides; one dominant strategy to bring end-users on board is to offer them free access to the platform, while advertisers and service providers are offered low-cost tools to target end-users."

Show thread

This is what distinguishes from . While functionally similar to the end user, Twitter is a *market* selling targeted access to users.

Show thread

"Traditionally, experts and institutions, directed by professional norms, played key rolls in ... selection processes. Journalists determine what is and is not news, guided by their independent professional judgement. ... experienced teachers decide which assignments fit a course and which courses fit a curriculum. Online platforms replace expert-based selection with user-driven and algorithm driven-selection."

Show thread

"From the perspective of users, selection through platforms appears more democratic than expert-based selection. However, selection is not only shaped by user practices but also constituted through often black-boxed techno-commercial strategies. Platforms curate content and user activity through a wide range of interface features and algorithms, the predilection and steering of which are anything but transparent to users."

Show thread

"Of course, as Gillespie points out, algorithms also make choices on the basis of criteria specified by designers. These criteria, as in the case of human editorial processes, are fundamentally "expressions of human values." Thus, when considering platform selection mechanisms involving algorithms, human editors, or a combination of both, we inevitably need to question the core values that guide these mechanisms."

Show thread
Show more

@Argus this applies to old-school media as well. The act of reporting the news makes the news.

@Argus Or - depending on where you work - *doesn't* make it possible ;)

@Argus platforms in no way have done away with heirarchy. The state has just largely delegated decision making to completely unelected corporate entities that have extremely rigid structure which isn't even fluid and certainly nowhere near democratic. I think the fediverse is a response to this as a directly democratic and accountable version of internet community that by it's nature cannot be entirely corrupted by any state entity as solely a mechanism of surveillance.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon for Tech Folks

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!