Digital Intermediaries

Project lead: Damian Tambini 

The Digital Intermediaries Project investigates issues of media pluralism and privacy within the context of media convergence. Increasingly influential gatekeepers such as search engines, social networks and app stores are the route through which citizens access information and as such play a significant role in determining what users see or not. In collaboration with Institut d’Economie Industrielle at the Toulouse School of Economics, there are two strands to the research project:

A law and public policy stream to be conducted at the LSE. This will focus on questions related to the rights and values which need to be preserved within the current converged environment and explore whether existing institutional and legal framework are appropriate for the changing media ecology in key areas such as media plurality, freedom of expression and privacy.

Another stream analysing the underlying economic processes will be conducted at the Institut d’Economie Industrielle. This will focus on explaining the role and function of intermediaries and the trade‐offs that public policy faces in seeking to influence their behaviour using theoretical models and tools of multi-sided markets.

Fundamentally this is about exploring the legitimacy of democratic processes in which opinion formation processes are subject to – or perceivedto be subject to – forms of manipulation, or simply monitoring and targeting that are not governed by established and well understood regulation and journalistic ethics.

The Digital Intermediaries Project was made possible by a generous donation from Microsoft, from which it receives core funding. This is a non-exclusive relationship, and the Digital Intermediaries Project welcomes support from other sources. Our research is independent of positions taken by any funders. LSE holds academic freedom as its highest ideal; external entities are precluded from unduly influencing research and teaching.”