Internet platforms and access to knowledge[edit | edit source]
Due to the rise of a few powerful companies such as Uber, Facebook, Amazon or Google, the term “platform” has moved beyond its initial computational meaning of technological architecture and has come to be understood as a socio-cultural phenomenon. Platforms are said to facilitate and shape human interactions, thus becoming important cultural, economic and social actors. While the companies offering platform services are increasingly the target of regulatory action, there is also much discretion left for them to decide on their business model. Increasingly rooted in the daily life of many individuals, many platforms monetise social interactions. Many sectors and social practices are being “platformised”, from public health to security, from news to entertainment services.
Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects are platforms. However, the predominant discourse does not include them, or many other non-commercial projects.
In this session, we seek to address two main questions regarding Wikimedia projects and platformization.
e first is where movement projects fit in the developing regulatory landscape. In what ways do Wikimedia projects share the problems that regulators seek to solve with new regulation, and in what ways do the projects differ from them? We can both defend necessary aspects of online platforms, and also differentiate Wikimedia projects from many commercial platforms. What combination of these arguments yields the ideal policy results?
The second question has to do with how Wikimedia projects intersect with the increasing dominance of other online platforms. As readers reach Wikimedia projects through other platforms’ intermediation, how can content and data should be sharable and accessible to support the idea of openness - which should be also addressed by platforms on systemic level, not only by individual users. What are the takeaways from experiences of services such as Wikipedia and Wikidata? How should we address openness in big platforms? How can we incorporate the practices of platform cooperativism in this landscape? Finally, how would governments, markets, or norms regulate and make these actors responsible without causing over-policing of content and avoid reliance on unaccountable automated tools aiding content moderation?
The workshop will include mapping of obstacles and challenges to making internet platforms fairer players in the online ecosystem. We will jointly discuss recommendations - what kind of legislation and self-regulatory measures should be implemented by platforms to enable access to knowledge.
This session will address the conference theme — Wikimedia, Free Knowledge and the Sustainable Development Goals — in the following manner:
Industries, Innovation, and Infrastructure: Communications infrastructure is a critical goal for sustainable development. However, the power of that infrastructure is conditioned upon the knowledge and information that transits over the communications networks. For those communications networks to aid development, they must be allowed to provide for exchange of knowledge between individuals, and not merely powerful entities. A sustainable knowledge infrastructure that preserves open and free communication is essential, and the shape of that knowledge infrastructure relies upon the nature of platform intermediation of knowledge.
Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions:
Regulatory efforts targeting platforms are often concerned with the growing influence of disinformation and other strategies that seek to undermine faith in stabilizing institutions. These include efforts to combat misinformation and efforts to prevent concentrated control of media--two goals that are often in tension.
At the end of the session, the following will have been achieved:
- Start a discussion within the community about the “platformatisation” trend and the societal implications.
- Map obstacles and challenges connected to openness and implications of concentration of power of internet platforms.
- Discuss framework for how platforms could be regulated to ensure Wikimedia projects can thrive
- Discuss what is the role of the Wikimania community in bringing back human values of creativity, freedom and openness .
- Natalia Mileszyk
- Sherwin Siy
- Wikimedia username 1
- Wikimedia username 2
Affiliation/country (if any)[edit | edit source]
- Centrum Cyfrowe/Poland
- Wikimedia/United States
Each Space at Wikimania 2019 will have specific format requests. The program design prioritises submissions which are future-oriented and directly engage the audience. The format of this submission is a:
- Workshop to identify and try to solve problem
- Roundtable discussion forum
The session will work best with these conditions:
- Room: The room adjusted to the group work.
- Audience: Up to 50 people, need of some basic knowledge on internet platforms.
- Recording: Might be challenging due to multiple conversations happening simultaneously.