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Towards a Platform Economy for the Common Good – Strengthening User Participation

Shopping at Amazon or instant messaging via Twitter - digital platforms are shaping our society. More and more is being transacted online. With far-reaching consequences for market power, data protection and freedom of speech, but also the hope for social and ecological improvements. Shaping the platform economy politically is a generational task. With the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, the European Union wants to advance digital sovereignty. Germany, too, is setting new rules with the GWB Digitization Act. The propagated goal: a value-oriented platform policy.

From the perspective of sustainable development, however, these activities fall short. Neither the virulent democratic deficit nor the new dependencies on the part of platform users, which result from the monopoly-like position of a few dominant platforms, are being addressed structurally. We propose here a qualitatively different development path that combines elements of public and private platform regulation. Along the criterion of digital participation, we outline basic features of a platform policy for the common good that aims to regulate gatekeeper platforms more strongly and additionally establish public good-oriented, democratically managed platform alternatives.

The author of this IÖW-Impulse also published the report "The Politics of Platform Cooperativism" as a Fellow at the Institute for the Cooperative Digital Economy at the New School, New York City, USA.