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Can Platforms Cancel Politicians? How States and Platforms Deal with Private Power over Political Actors: an Exploratory Study of 15 Countries

Author: Fertmann, M. & Kettemann, M.C.
Published in:
Year: 2021
Type: Working paper
DOI: 10.21241/ssoar.75127

In January 2021, a great “deplatforming” took place: Numerous internet platforms suspended the accounts of Donald Trump and his supporters. Private power over public speech is often contested, but the conflicts are magnified when this power is asserted over parties, political candidates and office holders that function as focal points for public debates. While most platforms’ terms of use and enforcement systems are global, opinions relating to any preferential treatment of speech by well-known political figures and office holders vary across national political and legal contexts.This study examines the interplay between these national conceptions and global private ordering systems by synthesizing answers to nine questions submitted by more than 30 researchers from 15 countries within the GDHR Network. It provides a first overview of how societies and governments conceive of and react to private power over political actors.

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Matthias C. Kettemann, PD, Mag., Dr., LL.M.

Assoziierter Forscher, Forschungsprogrammleiter


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