The Rise of Platforms: Challenges, Tensions, and Critical Questions for Platform Governance

Barrett, Bridget, Adams, Kirsten, Miller, Michael, Edick, Cole


This report summarizes the highlights of a discussion that took place on May 29, 2019 at George Washington University following the International Communication Association’s 2019 annual meeting.

The conference, titled “The Rise of Platforms: Individual, Institutional, and Governance Questions for Communication Research,” centered around identifying the key questions digital platforms present to communication research and adjacent fields such as political science, law, economics, and sociology, as well as the challenges of studying them. Although participants discussed a number of different issues at the post-conference, this report focuses on platform governance as a particularly salient and important theme. In addition to linking these discussions across subfields and disciplines, the conference sought to bring together researchers from different geographic and substantive areas to provide comparative analyses of platforms across economic, political, and social contexts.