A Proposal for Researcher Access to Platform Data: The Platform Transparency and Accountability Act

Paper by Nathaniel Persily: “We should not need to wait for whistleblowers to blow their whistles, however, before we can understand what is actually happening on these extremely powerful digital platforms. Congress needs to act immediately to ensure that a steady stream of rigorous research reaches the public on the most pressing issues concerning digital technology. No one trusts the representations made by the platforms themselves, though, given their conflict of interest and understandable caution in releasing information that might spook shareholders. We need to develop an unprecedented system of corporate datasharing, mandated by government for independent research in the public interest.

This is easier said than done. Not only do the details matter, they are the only thing that matters. It is all well and good to call for “transparency” or “datasharing,” as an uncountable number of academics have, but the way government might setup this unprecedented regime will determine whether it can serve the grandiose purposes techcritics hope it will….(More)”.