The first event organized within the auspices of the (still very nascent) research network was held in Spring 2020 and organized by a set of researchers and visiting researchers at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin.

Workshop on Empirical Approaches in Platform Governance Research

See the final program here.

Call for Submissions

The theory and practice of how major platforms for user-generated content create rules and technologies that affect billions around the world — and how different governance stakeholders seek to affect those structures — has become the focus of significant public, scholarly, and policy attention. In the past two years, platform companies have become notably, if not incrementally, more transparent about how they govern content, leading to new opportunities — as well as challenges — for researchers looking to understand contemporary content moderation.

In this virtual half-day workshop organized by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), we brought together an interdisciplinary set of researchers that produce empirical work on content moderation and platform governance across a variety of methodological traditions and approaches. We featured contributions that made use of qualitative methods (e.g. interviews, ethnography, and policy analysis) as well as quantitative, experimental, and other research designs, across a wide variety of related topics (e.g. moderation and labour/outsourcing; government content regulation and policy; corporate rule-making and norm-setting) and issues (e.g. hate speech, disinformation, copyright).

The goal of this first workshop was to not only to highlight the state of the research landscape as it exists at the moment, but to also to identify the major limitations facing researchers from different subfields, sparking collaborations that strive to move beyond those limitations and silos.

Due to the limitations imposed by the coronavirus crisis, the workshop was designed for virtual participation.


13:00 – 14:00 Opening Roundtable: Lessons Learned from Four Years of Platform Governance Research
Main Input: Nic Suzor and Rosalie Gillett, Queensland University of Technology
Response: Jillian York (EFF)
14:00 – 17:00  Double Track Sessions on Empirical Platform Governance Research
17:00 – 18:00  Closing Roundtable: Reflections and Lessons Learned for Future Research


Robert Gorwa
Amélie Heldt
Christian Katzenbach
Clara Iglesias Keller
João Carlos Magalhães