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Platform Governance in the Super Election Year 2021

Platform Governance in the Super Election Year 2021

The next German federal elections will take place on 26 September 2021. In the run-up to these elections, Germany will be the focus of those interested in how platforms regulate online communication and how they themselves are regulated.
Four phenomena will gain momentum at the same time:
  1. Rising populism and polarization, especially in the context of the corona-related reconfiguration of public communication spaces,
  2. The slow rollback of (corona-induced) increased automation of content review on social media platforms,
  3. The emergence of new dynamics and forums of political communication (“dark social”, private communication networks), and
  4. The application of two new (or revised) laws: the revised Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) and the State Media Treaty (MStV).
This comes at a time when the European Commission is in the process of reviewing the proposal for the Digital Services Act (DSA), the Digital Markets Act (DMA), and the US Congress is about to begin the process of reforming Sec. 230 CDA.
The HBI has considerable expertise in analyzing the legal dimensions of ensuring the authenticity and integrity of processes of social self-determination such as elections, including through algorithmically co-created and influenced automated communication processes.

For the 2021 federal election, a team led by PD Dr. Matthias C. Kettemann will collect real-time data on how platforms govern online speech, how laws and local standards interact, and how platform practices change in the shadow of EU regulation in the heated atmosphere of the run-up to the German elections.


A series of articles on our blog (in German) accompanies the research and provides ongoing information about its findings.
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Project Description

Coming soon.

Photo: Mika Baumeister / unsplash

Project Information


Duration: 2021-2021

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

Third party


Cooperation Partner

Contact person

Prof. Dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard)
Senior Researcher "Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces"

Prof. Dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard)

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

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 36
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17 77

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