Lab Platform Governance, Media and Technology (PGMT)

PGMT Lab’s presence at ICA 2024

6. June 2024

The International Communications Association (ICA) will take place on its 74th year in Gold Cost, Australia, from June 20 to 24. The ZeMKI will be represented with numerous contributions to the event and the Platform Governance Media and Technology Lab (PGMT) members are set to contribute with their research.

To kick off the Institute’s presence at the conference. On Saturday, June 22, 2024 at 10:30 am PGMT lab members Christian KatzenbachDaria DergachevaVasilisa KuznetsovaAdrian Kopps, share their insights on a joint presentation titled “How Have Social Media Platforms Governed ‚Misinformation‘ From Their Inception Until Today: A Longitudinal Study” under the session of Platforms, Algorithms and Power.

This research is the first study that analyzes all policies of five major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok starting from the beginning of their existence until the present day in connection to the concept of misinformation. Given that platforms are constantly changing their policies (Katzenbach, 2021; Barrett & Kreiss, 2019), the novelty of this paper lies in a systematic coverage of these changes over time and across platforms.

While scholarship has focused strongly on specific harms of social media platforms, such as hate speech and misinformation, there has been little systematic research on how they dealt with these harms over time. So to understand the role of platforms in their approach to misinformation, we need to systematically study how platforms have approached it since the time the concept had first appeared, in the context of societal transformations and technological developments (Katzenbach, 2021).

Methodologically, this research uses a mixed-method approach. We apply computational text analysis, including words in context and topic modeling (Chen et al., 2021) to understand the overarching themes and topics in policy documents and to narrow down the scope for qualitative analysis. The study then employs critical discourse analysis and qualitative content analysis to trace the changes around the concept of misinformation through time and platforms under study (Jacobs & Tschötschel, 2019).

Aside from this presentation PGMT’s Vasilisa Kuznetsova will contribute to the PhD colloquium of the conference on her PhD project: “The role of platforms in facilitating the dissemination of climate misinformation: policies, content moderation, algorithms”.

The members of the Lab are preparing the final touches to begin the long way to Australia to share their work, ideas and expertise.