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The project “Platform://Democracy: Platform Councils as Tools to Democratize Hybrid Online Orders” examines how the rules of discourse on platforms can be aligned with public values. It focuses on the following question: Can “platform councils” or other institutions ensure that public interests and democratic values are taken into account in the rule-making processes of platforms?

Background of the research project

Significant parts of our public discourse have shifted to digital platforms. Here, however, proven democratic principles cannot easily be translated to enable user participation in the design of private selection algorithms and moderation practices. The platforms themselves have become rule-makers, rule enforcers and judges of their decisions. Separation and separation of powers looks different. So what about our participation in communication-related decisions on digital platforms today?

Global best practice models

The project aims to analyse and synthesise the institutional frameworks of successful societal responses to hybrid governance regimes. This will be done through a global review of best practice models of integrating public interests back into private (and public) regimes, such as those that exist or existed in different countries in varying degrees, for example in the field of public broadcasting or the protection of minors.

Research clinics as innovative science formats

A total of four regional research clinics and resulting studies will be conducted in the regions of Asia/Australia, the Americas, Africa and Europe.  They will be used for interdisciplinary research and normative evaluation of the possibility spaces of institutionalised social feedback mechanisms of private exercise of power.

Presentation of the research results

A final, high-profile event will undertake a comparative review of regional best practices; a synthesis paper will summarise the project results.

Press release from 04.05.2022 on the project launch

Project launch event on 07.06.2022


FundingStiftung Mercator


Cooperation Partner:


Matthias C. Kettemann

Associated Researcher, Head of Research Group

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