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Governance of Freedom of Expression: Processes and Actors in the Development of Regulations in Digital Communication Spaces

Governance of Freedom of Expression: Processes and Actors in the Development of Regulations in Digital Communication Spaces

How does the normative framework of communicative human rights develop for a major private provider of social network services like Facebook? What processes and practices create rules in and for the private communication space? And what interactions exist between regulation processes inside and outside the company? What actors are part of regulation formation and/or regulation structures in which constellations and how are role understandings instituted and power relations constituted? How are responsibility and legitimacy negotiated and narrated in normative processes?
The study examines the actors involved in the development of standards through phases of observation and interviews with experts, followed by normative analyses.
Using the "concept of communicative figuration", the constellations of actors, frames of relevance and communication practices of normative actors are analysed and their self-image as normative actors is reflected. Linked to the concept of normative order, a "normative figuration" is thus designed, which for this case study enables reliable statements about the emergence and legitimacy of private rules for the design of public spaces.

The pilot study was published on 27 January 2020. It is available for free download.
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Project Description

"Governance of Freedom of Expression: Processes and Actors in the Development of Regulation in Digital Communication Spaces" is a social science case study by the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institute (HBI) at Facebook, Inc. It is part of Research Program 2 of the HBI, which investigates regulation structures and rule formation in digital communication spaces. The project is related to the knowledge-driven studies on private "Internet governance" carried out in the research programme by means of the establishment of normative structures within and outside intermediate organisations ("intermediaries").

Project Information


Duration: 2019-2019

Research programme:
RP2 - Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Digital Communication

Third party

Cooperation Partner

Contact person

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz
Director (Chairperson)

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung │ Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 0 (Sekretariat)

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