The Outside Lobbying Tactics of Online Platforms: The Case of Copyright Reform in the Digital Age
- Date: Jan 14, 2021
- Time: 15:00
- Speaker: Mischa Stratenwerth
- Doctoral researcher, IMPRS-SPCE
Platform power was recently identified as a new type of corporate power in the digital economy. Rooted in the infrastructural role of digital intermediaries, platform power operates through an alignment of preferences between users and platforms: Policymakers shy away from regulation in anticipation of a public outcry of consumers fearing restrictions of services that ease their daily lives. However, the focus on this largely automatic dimension led to the neglect of a more strategic dimension of platform power. In my paper I, thus, develop and evaluate a causal mechanism through which platforms use their ownership of a network to mobilize users and influence legislation. Conceptually, I link the platform power debate to the literatures on outside lobbying, i.e. the creation and activation of support from outside the policymaking community to pressure politicians, and digital politics, i.e. how digital media helps to disseminate and frame political information and to overcome collective action problems. I test the mechanism using process tracing in combination with quantitative text analysis of Twitter data and newspaper articles in the typical case of the Stop Online Piracy Act of 2012 in the US and the deviant case of the EU copyright directive of 2019.