Digital Infringements and the Responsibility of Digital Platforms

Christian Skettrup

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Private companies with digital platforms such as Facebook, are using discursive work and strategical positioning to situate themselves in a favorable position in the eyes of their users, advertisers, legislators and the general public. Despite repeatedly facilitating the distribution of some of the worst content that humanity has to offer, the society fails to hold them responsible for their part in the illegal activities. This is partly because most digital platforms are surrounded by a legal framework that exempt them from legal liability when their users conduct illegal activity, and partly because of secretive and opaque practices that makes it difficult to decipher the dynamics of commercial content moderation.
With a grounded theory approach, this paper will show how digital platforms are not just neutral technological intermediaries that exist in a vacuum, but rather socio-technical objectsthat exist in complex political, economical and technological environments, from where they afford their users certain things. In practice they gain a quasi-legislative role, from which they can shape their users’ ability to exercise their fundamental rights.
The Umbrella case provides a rare glimpse into the opaque and secretive regulation and moderation practices conducted by Facebook. Practices that makes it possible for digital platforms to implement their self-defined regulation through technical measures.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and E-business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages63
SupervisorsNanna Bonde Thylstrup