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The Regulation of Online Platforms: Mapping an emergent regulatory field

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This policy brief is designed to accompany the Discussion Paper,The Emergence of Platform Regulation in the UK: an Empirical-Legal Study.

Both this brief and the Discussion Paper will be vital reading for policymakers, regulators, and industry representatives. It is the first attempt at mapping the digital platform regulatory landscape, creating a taxonomy of 80 distinct online harms, eight areas of law that need to considered by regulators, nine different agencies who are responsible for regulation, and a diverse range of different regulatory tools that can be used and policy levers that can be pulled. 

Through an analysis of 8 different UK government reports, issued over an 18 month period, researchers have found that policymakers are focusing on two key areas, Online Harms and Competition. 

US multinationals – Google and Facebook in particular – have captured regulators’ attention, and they dominate references in the official literature. 

The authors consider some of the outcomes for the UK’s regulatory authorities, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the UK’s multi-agency approach, splitting responsibility among multiple department and arms length bodies. 

This policy brief is designed as a summary for the full discussion paper, The Emergence of Platform Regulation in the UK: an Empirical-Legal Study, which you can dowload here

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

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