Platformization and Media Capture: a Framework for Regulatory Analysis of Media-Related Platform Regulations

Radsch, Courtney C. 'Platformization and Media Capture: A Framework for Regulatory Analysis of Media-Related Platform Regulations.' UCLA Journal of Law & Technology, Platforms and the Press, 28, no. 2 (Winter 2023): 175–223.

49 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2023

See all articles by Courtney Radsch

Courtney Radsch

Open Markets Institute; Brookings Institution - Governance Studies; UCLA Institute for Technology, Law & Policy; Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)

Date Written: March 2, 2023

Abstract

This article analyses the challenges of regulating the digital technology sector to support journalism in the era of platformatization. It examines the interdependence between three categories of policy interventions proposed by regulators worldwide to rebalance the dynamics between journalism and online platforms: taxation and subsidies, copyright and licensing, and competition and anti-trust. By examining the theory of change driving each intervention, the benefits to publishers, and the potential for government intervention, this paper explores the risks of capture inherent in different approaches. It analyses the potential for media capture in each regulatory approach and with respect to further tying the future of journalism to the infrastructure provided by tech platforms. Capture through platformatization is not well understood or considered by policymakers, and many debates over regulation rightly focus on the potential for political influence, but they fail to consider the broader implications of specific policy interventions on infrastructure capture. This article argues that policymakers must establish a transparency framework to provide better data and understanding of the relationship between online platforms and news media. Without it, interventions will be ineffective, and dependency ensured. It concludes with a discussion on the importance of defining the objectives of new laws and crafting them in ways that minimize threats to media independence and sustainability. This article provides a theoretical contribution to the broader emerging discourse on platformatization and media capture and offers practical recommendations for policymakers based on comparative analysis and an assessment of evidence and impact.

Keywords: journalism, media, Big Tech, technology policy, regulation, news media bargaining code, taxation, subsidies, Australia, Canada, Facebook, Meta, Google, competition law

Suggested Citation

Radsch, Courtney, Platformization and Media Capture: a Framework for Regulatory Analysis of Media-Related Platform Regulations (March 2, 2023). Radsch, Courtney C. 'Platformization and Media Capture: A Framework for Regulatory Analysis of Media-Related Platform Regulations.' UCLA Journal of Law & Technology, Platforms and the Press, 28, no. 2 (Winter 2023): 175–223., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4397263

Courtney Radsch (Contact Author)

Open Markets Institute ( email )

1440 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Brookings Institution - Governance Studies ( email )

1755 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

UCLA Institute for Technology, Law & Policy ( email )

Los Angeles, CA
United States

Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) ( email )

57 Erb Street West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6C2
Canada

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