Platform Policy beyond Platform Determinism

Conference of the Jean Monnet Network on European Media and Platform Policies (EuromediApp)

19 November 2021
Venue: Irish College, Leuven

Register to participate


This conference day focuses on the continuation of the debate about platform governance research launched at the First Annual Platform Governance Research Network Conference in the Spring of 2021. We define platform governance as a “private mediation between Internet content and the humans who provide and access this content” (DeNardis, 2012). The following questions will be addressed:

  • What are the challenges and opportunities regarding platform governance?
  • What is the impact of platform governance on journalistic work and diversity?
  • Which role(s) have policy makers to play in this context of platform governance?
  • Which role(s) have the Big Four tech companies to play in this context of platform governance?
  • What are the main issues that need to be included in future research about platform governance research?


Experts in the field: continuing the debate on platform governance

Clara Iglesias Keller (WZB Berlin Social Sciences Center/ Leibniz Institute for Media Research)
Before and After Disinformation: The Normative Framework for Platform Regulation in Brazil
Pre-recorded presentation

Vibodh Parthasarathi (Centre for Culture, Media & Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia)
Platformisation in India: Industrial Dynamics and Post-Industrial Anxieties
Live (online)


Shannon McGregor (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Considering data use and data availability in platform governance
Pre-recorded presentation

Sonja Solomun (McGill University and Research Director at the Centre for Media, Technology & Democracy)
Results and insights of the first annual Platform Governance Research Network Conference
Live (online)

Discussion with all speakers
Live (online)

Lunch break

The view of policymakers and industry

Diana Vlad-Calcic (Policy officer of Unit of Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CNECT))
Shaping platform policy within the EU: the view of the European Commission
Live (online)

Simone Gobello (Public Policy Manager, EU Affairs Facebook)
Facebook’s view on the discussions around EU’s Digital Services Act

Discussion workshops on three topics related to the research and education challenges

Parallel sessions:

  • Process of constitutionalisation of the Social Media Environment
    • Clara Iglesias Keller (WZB Berlin Social Sciences Center/Leibniz Institute for Media Research, participating online)
    • Claudia Padovani (University of Padova)
  • The platformization of the news ecology
    • Michaël Opgenhaffen (KU Leuven)
    • Barbara Thomaß (Leibniz Institute for Media Research Hans-Bredow-Institut)
  • The role of diversity within platformisation
    • Heritiana Ranaivoson (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
    • Tristan Mattelart (University of Paris)

Connecting the dots and closing remarks

Josef Trappel (University of Salzburg, head of Euromedia Research Group)


Simone Gobello is a Public Policy Manager at Facebook’s EU office. In his duties, he works on content policies at EU level, such as the Digital Services Act. He also covers Facebook’s relations with the European Parliament. Simone holds a Master’s Degree in EU Politics and Administration from the College of Europe in Bruges and a Master’s in International Relations from LUISS University in Rome.

Clara Iglesias Keller is a senior researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research, where she coordinates the Digital Disinformation Hub. She is also a Politics of Digitalization senior research at the WZB Berlin Social Sciences Center, where she researchers in the fields of information technology and media regulation, with focus on the role played by governance structures and state regulation in digital transformation and regulation of online speech. She is an Associate Researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, where she is part of the team building the Platform Governance Research Network. She completed her Doctorate (equivalent to summa cum laude in the German system) at the Rio de Janeiro State University, having written her thesis on “National regulation of Internet-based services: exception, legitimacy and the role of States” (2019). She holds a Masters degree in public law from the same university and an L.L.M in Information Technology and Media Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science (2012).

Tristan Mattelart is professor at the French Institute of the Press, University of Paris 2, Panthéon Assas, and researcher at the Carism (Centre d’analyse et de la recherche interdisciplinaire sur les médias). His research interests varies from theories of media internationalization to audiovisual piracy.

Shannon McGregor is an assistant professor at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a senior researcher with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life – both at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research addresses the role of social media and their data in political processes, with a focus on political communication, journalism, public opinion, and gender. Dr. McGregor’s work examines how three groups – political actors, the press, and the public – use social media in regards to politics, how that social media use impacts their behavior, and how the policies and actions of social media companies in turn impacts political communication on their sites. Her work has been published in academic journals across disciplines – including communication, political science, and sociology – as well as in public outlets like Slate, The Washington Post, Wired, and The Guardian. She is the co-editor (with Dr. Talia Stroud) of Digital Discussions: How Big Data Informs Political Communication.

Michaël Opgenhaffen (PhD) is associate professor at the Institute for Media Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium, where he is also the director of the master’s program in journalism. His research focuses on the production and consumption of social media news with a recent focus on misinformation and fact-checking.

Claudia Padovani (PhD) is Associate Professor in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Padova (Italy). Her main areas of interest concern global political transformations, with a special focus on the governance of communication and, in that context, on gender in/equality issues, communication rights and social justice.

Vibodh Parthasarathi maintains a multidisciplinary interest in media policy, digital transitions, and policy literacy. Associate Professor at the Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Media, Data and Society, Central European University, he has been a visiting scholar at KU Leuven, University of Queensland, University of Helsinki, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, besides being an Affiliate Scholar at SASNET, Lund University. Parthasarathi has been at the forefront of media policy research in India and a winner of numerous grants, including from the Ford Foundation, Canada’s IDRC, Social Science Research Council, HIVOS, and University Grants Commission. His edited works include Platform Capitalism in India (Palgrave, 2020), the double-volume The Indian Media Economy (OUP, 2018), and the triptych Communication Processes (Sage 2007, 2009, 2010). Parthasarathi serves on the Board of the Centre for Internet and Society (Bangalore), in editorial/advisory roles in leading scientific journals and in book series at MIT Press and Oxford University Press, and as Associate Editor of Journal Digital Media and Policy.

Heritiana Ranaivoson (PhD) is Senior Researcher and Project Leader at imec-SMIT-Vrije Universiteit Brussel since 2010. He got a PhD in 2008 Industrial Economics at the Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, with a thesis on market structure and diversity of production in the recording industry. He has led several research projects at international and national levels funded by public (the European Commission, the Unesco, etc.) and private (Google) organisations. He has published extensively in the fields of cultural and media diversity, media innovation, media policy, audiovisual platforms, and the economic impact of digital technologies on creative industries.

Sonja Solomun is the Director of Research at the Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy at McGill University’s Max Bell School of Public Policy and a PhD Candidate in the Department of Communication Studies at McGill University. She is a Research Affiliate at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and with the Data & Society Research Institute in New York, and a Co-Founder of the Coalition for Critical Technology. Sonja works on platform governance, climate and technology, and the histories of early social media and networking sites. She has published on these and other topics in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology and upcoming in New Media & Society. She is the co-editor of the forthcoming book, Power and Justice: Citizens, Data and Policy (University of British Columbia Press, 2022, with Elizabeth Judge and Drew Bush). Her work and community involvement has been featured in The Financial Times, MIT Tech Review, Nature, BBC, Vice, Wired, Tech Crunch, and OneZero. More on her work can be found here.

Barbara Thomass (PhD) is Professor em. for International Comparison of Media Systems at the Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany. Her main fields of research are media systems in East and West, media politics, public service media, international communication, media and journalism ethics. She is the second deputy head of the administrative council of the ZDF, the national public service broadcaster in Germany. Prior to her academic career she had been working as a journalist.