It’s a wrap! The ALGEPI team gathers at the 2023 ECREA CLP Section Workshop “Digital Platform Policy Spring? Promises and Trajectories for Digital Platform Regulation”

December 15, 2023

University of Salzburg, Austria; 2-3 November

The workshop brought together more than 50 academics investigating the processes of regulating media and digital intermediaries in Europe and beyond. 7 panels comprising 23 presentations and a keynote speaker, stimulated compelling and informative discussions over the Digital Services Act, the European Media Freedom Act, the gatekeepers of the public sphere, platform power, safeguarding of news content online, media diversity and pluralism, media ownership and transparency, harmful content and hate speech, systemic risks, and algorithms and recommender systems and their influential role in the epistemic welfare discourse. Interestingly, all these topics touch upon ALGEPI’s mission to investigate how media service providers incorporate algorithmic gatekeepers to navigate the digital noise and determine how they are contributing to or decreasing epistemic welfare. Some members part of the ALGEPI project i.e., SMIT, AMSoC, DCM and CiTiP took this opportunity to meet up and share their research.

The two-day event commenced with a thought-provoking keynote speech by Natali Helberger from the University of Amsterdam. Helberger urged the audience to move beyond the ‘black box’ metaphor often accompanying discussions on recommender systems and their regulation and replace it with the ‘stack’ metaphor. The key takeaway from her speech is that recommender systems are not simply a ‘black box’, but a building block of our information infrastructure, with users and society having a legitimate interest in knowing what is inside the ‘box’ and what happens there, and to be inside the box. She urged researchers to identify new points of intervention and new avenues of research into the relationships and governance mechanisms along the stack.

The keynote speech was followed by panels on Digital Platform Regulation in Europe, on Media Ownership and Concentration and on Public Interest Content. Manuel Puppis and Michelle Kulig from DCM presented their research entitled ‘Public sphere governance in times of platformization: taking a comprehensive perspective on the production and dissemination of content across intermediaries’. Lidia Dutkiewicz from CiTiP gave a comprehensive presentation highlighting some of the regulatory incoherencies concerning safeguarding news content on online platforms. Both Hilde Van den Bulck from AMSoC and Heritiana Ranaivoson from SMIT chaired two panels on the first day. Heritiana Ranaivoson and Adelaida Afilipoaie from SMIT presented their ongoing research concerning Member States’ initiatives for monitoring and assessing media source diversity considering online media ownership concentration.

The last day consisted of three panels tackling Harmful Content, Digital Platform Regulation in Latin America and Algorithms and Recommender Systems. In the last panel, Hilde Van den Bulck presented, for the first time for a public audience, ALGEPI’s ongoing research into a new framework for understanding the governance of recommender systems, highlighting the various theoretical concepts addressing algorithms, epistemic wellbeing, and epistemic welfare. Prof Van den Bulck addressed the governance implications and the need to ensure that epistemic welfare is recognized as a policy goal. From Natali Helberger’s keynote speech on recommender systems to Hilde Van den Bulck’s presentation, the workshop ended in a full circle, emphasizing the key role played by algorithmic gatekeepers in media ecosystems.

 

 

Other resources

How to Understand Trust in News Recommender Systems

How to Understand Trust in News Recommender Systems

Authors: Hilde Van den Bulck, Aaron Hyzen, Michelle Kulig, Steve Paulussen, Manuel Puppis| Antwerp Media in Society Centre (AMSoC) and Department of Communication Sciences and Media (DCM) at the ...
Algorithmic Gatekeepers: The Invisible Players Shaping Knowledge Dissemination

Algorithmic Gatekeepers: The Invisible Players Shaping Knowledge Dissemination

Authors: Raphaël Tuor, Denis Lalanne, Bruno Dumas and Juliette Parmentier | Human-IST Institute.Exploring the unprecedented challenges associated with the integration of epistemic gatekeepers in ...
Beyond the Algorithm: Measuring Diversity in Media Recommender Systems

Beyond the Algorithm: Measuring Diversity in Media Recommender Systems

*This post is based on the imec.icon TRENDIFY research project, funded by imec and Agentschap innoveren & ondernemen. Authors: Heritiana Ranaivoson, Aina Errando & Adelaida Afilipoaie | ...