Regulating the internet intermediaries in a post-truth world: Beyond media policy?

Iosifidis, Petros; Andrews, Leighton
International Communication Gazette

The regulation of internet intermediaries such as Facebook and Google has drawn increasing academic, journalistic and political attention since the ‘fake news’ controversies following UK’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election victory in 2016. This article examines the pressure for a new regulatory framework for the information intermediaries both within and outside the media industry, notably in Europe, noting that the range of issues thrown up by the operations of the information intermediaries now engage a wider focus than media policy per se, including data and privacy policy, national security, hate speech and other issues. The concept of ‘fake news’ emerges as only one of the drivers of policy change: the dominance of information intermediaries such as Facebook and Google in respect of the digital advertising market and data monopolisation may be even more significant. The article asks whether a new concept of ‘information utilities’ may be appropriate to capture their increasingly dominant role.