"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."
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.
A platform can be both infrastructural and sectoral, depending on what it does and how it relates to other platforms.
“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.”
“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."
"...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."
"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."
"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..."
"Platforms do not merely "measure" certain sentiments, thoughts, and performances but also trigger and mold them, both physically through their user interfaces."
"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".
"... 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."
"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..."
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."
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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"...a fully data-driven news production and distribution process would be one in which neither news organizations nor users but rather platform dynamics would be leading the way."
"User data are never a neutral reflection of user interests but always shaped by the techno-commercial strategies of platforms.“
"The system favors news production and distribution informed by the algorithmic processing of datafied user activity on platforms and thus potentially clashes with journalistic independence. Instead of relying on editorial decisions based on journalistic judgment, the "automated" #news process would be determined and quantified by user demand."
"Such a model of news production could be interpreted as a democratization of the news process, but ... user empowerment is only half the story. Platform datafication also means that the technological standards and economic models of platforms shape professional values and sectoral activity. Thus, a fully data-driven news production and distribution process would be one in which neither the news organizations nor users but rather platform dynamics would be leading the way."
"At least two types of modification strategies are available to publishers in the platform ecosystem: *networked* and *native* strategies. A networked strategy refers to the circulation of content links ... through online platforms, to drive audiences to the news publishers' website, where they are served with ads or enticed to sign up for a subscription ... Alternatively, publishers can pursue a native strategy, which entails that the publisher hosts its content on platforms..."
"...most platforms tend to include signals of personal and global interest in their algorithm make selection of 'most relevant', 'top', or 'trending' content. In doing so, they privilege content that rapidly generates more user engagement. Automated news selection ... revolves around the principles of 'personalization' and 'virality' - principles that are baked into platform architectures - prompting users to share content with their ... followers and, hence, soliciting an emotional response."
"From a platform perspective, it is the responsibility of the individual, and not of professional editors, to make sure that users receive diverse news. As such, platformization tends to transform the accuracy and comprehensiveness of news from a public value to a personal value."
"The goal of platform #cooperativism is not to organize activities outside of the market but to put the producers of the services ... in command of the system. This vision is built upon the historical emergence of cooperatives in the industrial era, when housing economical production in certain areas or the organization of social goods such as housing was managed through democratically governed, member-based organizations."
"Development of user-friendly platforms that are also scalable has proven relatively hard, has our attempts to find financing for their growth. In the United States, current regulation discourages development of cooperative platforms to some extent. For one thing, anti-competition laws - once designed to protect free markets - make it illegal for a #cooperative to set standards for prices or conduct."
"As Scholz and Schneider argue, advancing platform cooperativism is not a matter of designing the right technology; it also need specific reforms of finance, law, and policy. In sum, these experiments show that in theory it is possible to ground the organization of urban transport in particular public values such a solidarity, democratic ownership, and fair labor conditions..."
".... In practice, though, current regulation and financing structures make this alternative articulation of commodification difficult to realize. In fact, #cooperativism's inherent decentralized logic runs counter to the dominant network effects-driven logic of the platform ecosystem whose governance is increasingly concentrated in the infrastructure and connective platforms found at its core." #coop
Sao Paulo draft law to require transport providers to purchase "mobility credit" - with reduced prices for areas/populations/providers to be supported by local gvt. "The goal, then, is to maximize the efficiency of the transport system from a public values point of view, rather than profit alone."
"... local governments can also offer or subsidized services to generate public values the market cannot or will not sustain. An example is the experiment undertaken in the city of Helsinki with Kutsuplus, a micro-transit service of flexibly scheduled vans. Customers could use an app to book a ride, with the platform combining the transport wishes of various customers into shared trajectories."
"The service was part of a larger vision to turn parts of Helsinki into car free areas. Unfortunately, the experiment was canceled after two years has the government found that heat strip cost 17 Euros in subsidies."
"According to reports from the business press, a company like Uber... racked losses of more than $1 billion in the first half of 2016; however, Uber still has ample funding to expand its market share, build up a customer base in a variety of countries, lobby regulators from local to supranational levels, and pay the legal fees and fines when their service provisions are disputed by local regulators. Public service innovation does not have these financial capacities."
"Similarly, where #startups can be flexible, target niche markets, and challenge existing laws and regulations, public service startups have less leeway to do so as they have to comply with current arrangements, for instance, with regard to labor policy or universal access, making them less flexible for #innovation in an unequally created playing field."
"...governments have more options than to allow or disallow a particular platform to operate instead, they can recalibrate platform mechanisms to the advantage of public values and to serve community benefits. Local governments can provide services that contribute to public values... they can offer access to public infrastructures [to orgs] that fulfill particular conditions; or they can build plug-ins for the platform ecosystem that taxes or rewards particular contributions to public values..."
23andMe is abhorent.
"The ideas of collectivity where patients are asked to donate their data for the greater good of research turns out to be an investment in connectivity that helps companies like 23andMe accrue value because they turn patient data into tradable goods."
"American and European governments have started their own "open data" initiatives in the health sector, and it is interesting to note the two continents' ideological differences... According to the US government, "open data" basically means the freedom to create economic value out of public data collections... [For] the European equivalent ... open data are considered instrumental in procuring citizens access to affordable services, such as healthcare or education."
New concept: "Bildung" - the ideal to teach children to become not just skilled workers but knowledgeable citizens.
"For MOOC platforms, the core unit of education is not Bildung but learning, the core unit of trade is not a curriculum but a course - a single unit that can be "unbundled" and "rebundled" into an online "product" that is offered outside of a local college context to an audience that is spread across the globe."
"Just as Uber has no cars and employs no drivers, Coursers employs no teachers and owns no school buildings."
"But one way or another, that "new geometry" is deeply reliant on quality content provided by quality teachers that has to be paid for either by student fees or by collective taxes. The much broader argument that the money is needed to fix public schools should be spent on private charters and high-tech fixes has become an increasingly popular tenant, especially in the United States, where it is leading to a dismantling of the public system."
"The two examples [AltSchool and Coursera] bring to the fore the intrinsic clash between two conflicting ideological views on the value of #education: on one end of the spectrum, education is a private investment in youngsters, to teach them skills and enhance their employability; on the other hand, education is a public investment and to foster knowledgeable and critical citizens and enable them to participate in a democracy."
"First, the platform society is entangled in the ecosystems' techno-commercial mechanisms that push the marketization of public services and public sectors. Since there is no public space carved out in the infrastructural core of platform society, technocratic solutions to social problems increasingly define the agendas of governments and public institutions."
"At the heart of this ideological clash lies not only what Marozov has called "technological solutionism" but also a neoliberal political agenda where formerly defined public and government functions are administered towards yielding private profits. Public funding is increasingly lured towards platform projects' capitalize on data-based, technology-intensive forms of teaching and learning, at the expense of investments in human-based, labor-intensive pedagogical and didactic skills."
"Cities could substantially benefit from the data gathered by Uber and other transport network services to optimize traffic flows. Access to data could help to make platforms more accountable; therefore, some classes of data should be shared for the common good, provided the privacy is protected."
"...we elaborated on the importance of making data flows open, traceable, and reusable. In the domains of health and education, we are seeing a tendency towards privatization of user-generated data - a tendency that sits in tension with the need for more transparency and testing for accuracy."
@Argus The website is also controlled by the mormon church.
Just another reason for me to hate them.
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