Our online platforms: How online platforms now threaten but could also empower democracy

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Abstract

Social media and sharing economy platforms do not only disrupt industries. They also bypass democratic institutions. That’s not without risk, because the dominant Silicon Valley based online platforms are designed to create shareholder value, not to strengthen society or democracy. Which is unfortunate, because online platforms – if designed to that purpose – can be uniquely power full tools for organising our networked society.

In Amsterdam over 90 neighbourhood networks use online platforms for self organisation. This development accelerated from 2010 on. The networks aim at strengthening social ties and local initiatives and are increasingly involved in some way of democratic innovation. This study is a deep dive into this urban bottom-up-movement. It puts the phenomena of online neighbourhood platforms in a broader societal and economical context. It points at the importance of user owned platforms and data. And it draws conclusions on how society and specifically municipal management can bring this movement to a next level. Ultimately with the potential of growing into an alternative for the Silicon Valley owned online platform ecosystem.
Translated title of the contributionOur online platforms: How online platforms now threaten but could also empower democracy
Original languageDutch
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherCitizen Data Lab
Number of pages190
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2017

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