LOCATING AND THEORIZING PLATFORM POWER
Keywords:Platforms, Power, Infrastructures, Political Economy, Governance
AbstractThis panel locates and theorizes platform power through five case studies, focussing on: 1) video sharing platforms, 2) app stores, 3) programmatic advertising networks, 4) labor staffing intermediaries, and 5) cloud computing. Each case study starts with the question: where do relations of dependence take shape on the examined platform(s) and how are these relations organized? Addressing this question, the panelists hypothesize that platform power is exerted, codified, and operationalized around particular infrastructural platform services, which enable specific economic activities, such as advertising, content sharing, data analysis, labor staffing and management, cloud hosting, and so on. Examining these services, the panelists specifically focus on the evolution of platforms. Infrastructural services, such as Facebook Reels or the Apple’s App Store each set standards and provide gateways for complementors–content and service providers, advertisers, data intermediaries, talent agencies–to access other institutional actors, data, and end-users. Yet, such services are also constantly adapted to local regulatory frameworks, to retain end-users and complementors, and to respond to competitors in platform ecosystems. In turn, such changes force complementors to adapt their own operations to continue offering their products and services through the platform. It is in these moments of change, when relations of dependence are reshuffled, that platform power becomes most visible. In combination, the five case studies will provide more detailed insights into how and where relations of dependence take shape in the platform ecosystem and how these relations evolve over time.
How to Cite
Poell, T., Nieborg, D., van Dijck, J., Caplan, R., Helmond, A., van der Vlist, F., … Plantin, J.-C. (2023). LOCATING AND THEORIZING PLATFORM POWER. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2022. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2022i0.12965