Digital platforms are governing systems — so it’s time we examined them in more detail

Digital platforms are not just software-based media, they are governing systems that control, interact, and accumulate. As surfaces on which social action takes place, digital platforms mediate — and to a considerable extent, dictate — economic relationships and social action. By automating market exchanges they solidify relationships into material infrastructure, lend a degree of immutability […]

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Design ethics for gender-based violence and safety technologies

Digital technologies are increasingly proposed as innovative solution to the problems and threats faced by vulnerable groups such as children, women, and LGBTQ people. However, there exists a structural lack of consideration for gender and power relations in the design of Internet technologies, as previously discussed by scholars in media and communication studies (Barocas & […]

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Considering the Taylor Review: Ways Forward for the Gig Economy

The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices in the UK was published last week. The review assesses changes in labour markets and employment practices, and proposes policy solutions. One of the big themes in the report is the rise of platform-mediated gig work. I have been doing research on platform-mediated work for a few years […]

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Open government policies are spreading across Europe — but what are the expected benefits?

Open government policies are spreading across Europe, challenging previous models of the public sector, and defining new forms of relationship between government, citizens, and digital technologies. In their Policy & Internet article “Why Choose Open Government? Motivations for the Adoption of Open Government Policies in Four European Countries,” Emiliana De Blasio and Donatella Selva present […]

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Cyberbullying is far less prevalent than offline bullying, but still needs addressing

Bullying is a major public health problem, with systematic reviews supporting an association between adolescent bullying and poor mental wellbeing outcomes. In their Lancet article “Cyberbullying and adolescent well-being in England: a population-based cross sectional study”, Andrew Przybylski and Lucy Bowes report the largest study to date on the prevalence of traditional and cyberbullying, based […]

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Does Twitter now set the news agenda?

The information provided in the traditional media is of fundamental importance for the policy-making process, signalling which issues are gaining traction, which are falling out of favour, and introducing entirely new problems for the public to digest. But the monopoly of the traditional media as a vehicle for disseminating information about the policy agenda is […]

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How policy makers can extract meaningful public opinion data from social media to inform their actions

The role of social media in fostering the transparency of governments and strengthening the interaction between citizens and public administrations has been widely studied. Scholars have highlighted how online citizen-government and citizen-citizen interactions favour debates on social and political matters, and positively affect citizens’ interest in political processes, like elections, policy agenda setting, and policy […]

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We should pay more attention to the role of gender in Islamist radicalization

One of the key current UK security issues is how to deal with British citizens returning from participation in ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Most of the hundreds fighting with ISIS were men and youths. But, dozens of British women and girls also travelled to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. For some, online […]

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