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”.

Trump Central? App stores as a new front in the platform governance of Donald Trump

Trump’s transition from mainstream platform user to putative platform operator marks a watershed moment in the politics of platform governance. The launch of “Truth Social” brings to light a frequently underrated aspect of platform governance: how platform operators govern not only their own users, but also other platforms

I have a new blog post at the OII discussing what the launch of Donald Trump’s “Truth Social” app may mean for platform governance going forward.

Constitutional Metaphors: Facebook’s ‘Supreme Court’ and Platform Legitimation

In our paper, we trace the increasing popularity of constitutional metaphors among private platforms to show how these metaphors obscure rather than elucidate the position of private decision-making bodies in society.

With co-authors Philipp Darius, Dominiquo Santistevan and Moritz Schramm, I presented this paper earlier today at the First Annual Conference of The Platform Governance Research Network.