App store governance: implications, limitations, and regulatory responses

In this article, we analyse two case studies: the removals from app stores in 2021 of the fringe American social media app Parler and of the Russian opposition app Smart Voting. On the basis of this analysis, we identify three critical limitations for app store governance at present: Apple’s and Google’s dominance, the substantive opacity of their respective app store guidelines, and the procedural arbitrariness with which these guidelines are applied to specific cases. We then assess the potential efficacy of legislative proposals in the EU and US to intervene in this domain and conclude by offering some recommendations supporting more efficacious and socially responsible app store governance.

I have a new article with Jessica Morley and Luciano Floridi now published in Telecommunications Policy, which looks at the issues for app store governance raised by the removals of Parler and Smart Voting from app stores.

Constitutional metaphors: Facebook’s “Supreme Court” and the Legitimation of Platform Governance

A range of rhetorical devices have been used to simplify the complexities associated with the governance of online platforms. This includes “constitutional metaphors”: metaphorical allusions to traditional political concepts such as statehood, democracy, and constitutionalism. Here, we empirically trace the ascent of a powerful constitutional metaphor currently employed in the news media discourse on platform governance: characterizations of Facebook’s Oversight Board (OB) as a “supreme court.”

I have a new paper published open access in New Media and Society with Philipp Darius, Dominiquo Santistevan and Moritz Schramm, about Facebook’s “Oversight Board” and the depiction of it as a “Supreme Court”.