Lab Platform Governance, Media and Technology (PGMT)

Session 2: Rebecca Scharlach, Governing principles – The promises and challenges of identifying values in social media platform policies

Time and Date: June 13, 2023, 15:00 CEST, Online

Presentation is available here

By now, we know that social media platforms are far from being neutral entities. While platforms often signal their commitment to principles such as free expression or transparency in outlets such as press releases, our task is to understand which values they implement in more enduring policies and design choices.  

In this talk, I will zoom into my work on platform values, focusing on where to look for them and how to identify them. Based on my first Ph.D. paper, “Governing principles: Articulating values in social media platform policies”, written with Blake Hallinan and Limor Shifman (New Media & Society, March 2023), I will reflect on the challenges we faced deconstructing values in the policy documents of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok. In the discussion, I will focus on future directions for research on platform values and the possible challenges that come along with the current developments of the social media landscape.

Rebecca Scharlach is a PhD Candidate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and part of the ERC-funded research project DigitalValues. Her research investigates the individual and societal implications of social media governance.


Scharlach, R., Hallinan, B., & Shifman, L. (2023). Governing principles: Articulating values in social media platform policies. New Media & Society

About the Series 

This talk is part of the series Behind the Scenes – Conversations on Empirical Platform Governance Research that invites scholars in this field to share their experiences and views, fostering  community exchange about how we can study platform governance in this challenging context. It is hosted by the Lab “Platform Governance, Media, and Technology” (PGMT) at the Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI), University of Bremen, and the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies, University of Groningen.


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