Juridical Discourse for Platforms

136 Harv. L. Rev. F. 163 (2022)

42 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2022

See all articles by Thomas Kadri

Thomas Kadri

University of Georgia School of Law

Date Written: 2022

Abstract

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has created a private “Supreme Court,” or so he says. Since 2021, his company’s Oversight Board has issued verdicts on a smattering of Facebook’s decisions about online speech. Cynics frame the Board as a Potemkin village, but defenders invoke analogies to separation of powers to claim that this new body empowers the public and restrains the company. Some are even calling for a single “platform supreme court” to rule over the entire industry.

Juridical discourse for platforms is powerful, but it can also be deceptive. This Response explores how juridical discourse has legitimized and empowered Facebook’s Board, building on Professor Evelyn Douek’s critique of how a “stylized” picture likens content moderation to judicial review. While Douek focuses on how scholars and lawmakers preach this misleading picture, I expose how platforms drive juridical discourse for their own gain. This deeper understanding of platform complicity is key. Without it, we’ll struggle to comprehend or contest the illusory picture of content moderation favored by platforms. With it, we might better resist platforms’ attempts to thwart regulation that would better serve the public’s interests.

Keywords: Content Moderation, Communications Law, Internet Law, Law & Technology, Social Media

Suggested Citation

Kadri, Thomas, Juridical Discourse for Platforms ( 2022). 136 Harv. L. Rev. F. 163 (2022), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4304260

Thomas Kadri (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States

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