Research event

Understanding the emergence of platforms and their governance: A longitudinal perspective

A presentation by Prof. Christian Katzenbach (University of Bremen). This event is part of the Digital Governance Research Colloquium hosted by the Centre for Digital Governance.

How do social media platforms become what they are, how do they change and what is the role of governance in this process? Platforms have become key players and institutions in contemporary societies, and at the same time they are (still) highly unstable and plastic. Musk’s takeover and transformation of X/Twitter is only the most vivid example of this discrepancy between platforms’ central role in society and their lack of stability and accountability. While there is ample research on the impact of social media, scholarship has not examined systematically how platforms emerge and change, although platforms’ trajectories are not simply a consequence of technological progress but of multiple political, cultural and economic developments. There is urgent need to better understand these formation processes now, given the high volatility and fast-paced technological change (generative AI) among platforms facing increasing regulatory action (EU) and public scrutiny.

This presentation addresses this challenge by offering a new and integrated perspective on platforms and their governance, looking specifically at discourses and regulation to understand the emergence of platforms and their governance in a longitudinal perspective. The presentation will also included examples from empirical research to show how the discourse on platforms and their responsibility has changed over the years, and how this discursive change interacts with changing platforms policies (for example on misinformation) and changing regulatory initiatives (such as EU’s Copyright Directive and the Digital Services Act).

Christian Katzenbach is professor of Media and Communication at the Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI) at the University of Bremen. He directs the MA programme „Digital Media and Society“ and the research lab "Platform Governance, Media, and Technology". His research and teaching focus  on the intersection of governance, social communication, and technological developments, currently particularly with regard to platforms and artificial intelligence. 

Registration is required for this event. The link to join the event on MS Teams will be sent out on the day of the event. 

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