Digital platforms as private governance systems
This project aims to identify and analyze challenges created by digital platforms as private governance systems from both private and public law perspectives, including consumer protection, anti-discrimination, contractual fairness, human rights and access to justice.
Digital platforms play an increasingly important role in society. The so-called collaborative platforms are used for commercial exchange but also for providing services of broader societal interest for instance on the housing and transportation market and social platforms such as Facebook serve as communication channels around the world for billions of people. Moreover, platforms seem to create their own, private norm systems. Platforms define the rules applicable on the platform, they implement these rules by way of rating systems and by user exclusion and they offer dispute resolution mechanisms available to the users on the platforms. By taking on the roles as both regulators, implementers and dispute resolution bodies, platforms undertake governance functions comparable to a state.
Platform private governance systems have been met with regulatory and other governmental push-backs of different kinds. More recent ones include the EU Regulation on platform-to-business relations (Regulation 2019/1150), establishing rules on unfair contract terms in the platform-to-business relationship, the EU Copyright Directive, imposing new obligations on online content-sharing service providers (Directive 2019/790), the judgment of the CJEU in Case C-18/18 (Glawischnig-Piesczek) (2019) supporting injunctions against Facebook with a worldwide effect, the German Network Enforcement Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz) aiming to combat agitation and fake news in social networks, and the expected proposal for a revision of the liability exemption rules in the e-Commerce Directive in a “Digital Services Act” (2020). There are also examples of consensual agreements between states and platforms to support important state policies such as the collaboration agreement between the Danish Tax Authority and Airbnb, which requires Airbnb to share certain information with the Danish Tax Authority.
It is the hypothesis of this project that digital platforms create challenges in both private and public law. The aim of the project is to identify these challenges and to analyse them through the lenses of private governance.
For a general introduction to digital platforms as private governance systems, see
- Clement Salung Petersen/Vibe Ulfbeck/Ole Hansen: Platforms as Private Governance Systems - The Example of Airbnb (Nordic Journal of Commercial Law No 1 (2018))
PI Director of centre, professor
Vibe Garf Ulfbeck
Faculty of Law
University of Copenhagen
South Campus, Building: 6B.3.64
Karen Blixens Plads 16
DK-2300 Copenhagen S
Phone: (45) 35 32 31 48