The world wide web was designed to facilitate the free flow of information and to make knowledge accessible to all. Those lofty goals have been under pressure for some time from the use of the web to spread mis- and disinformation, target minority groups and monitor and monetize populations online lives.
These concerns raise the importance of governance, but governance, where it exists, is dominated by rules set out by social media platforms, by some jurisdictions such as the European Union and US, or complete isolation such as the Great Firewall. The recent US decision to limit American’s access to TikTok and WeChat has raised issues related to personal privacy and national security and brought to the forefront how a lack of effective governance can impact millions of users. Until recently, the ongoing “balkanization” of the internet has been largely been ignored by those working on “content” (e.g., disinformation, online hate) and anti-trust issues. Yet, the current trajectory could have a profound impact on planned government intervention in these areas.
Through a panel presentation and guided discussion, this session will look at the implications of the splinternet on platform governance issues, with an aim to equipping members to understand how this can affect their ongoing work on regulation, legislation and policy development on the range of domestic issues.
Chris Beall, Policy Lead, Platform Governance, CIGI
Chris Beall is the policy lead, platform governance, with the digital economy research team at CIGI. Chris was most recently the founding director of the Digital Citizen Initiative at the Department of Canadian Heritage.