Deplatformization and the governance of the platform ecosystem


Van Dijk, J., de Winkel, T. & Schäfer, M.T. (2020). “Deplatformization and the governance of the platform ecosystem”. In New Media & Society, First published online September 23, 2021. London: SAGE Publications. Retrieved September 25, 2021 from

Work data:

ISSN: 1461-7315

Type of work: Article (academic)


e-Democracy | Social Media & Social Software


This article analyzes deplatformization as an implied governance strategy by major tech companies to detoxify the platform ecosystem of radical content while consolidating their power as designers, operators, and governors of that same ecosystem. Deplatformization is different from deplatforming: it entails a systemic effort to push back encroaching radical right-wing platforms to the fringes of the ecosystem by denying them the infrastructural services needed to function online. We identify several deplatformization strategies, using Gab as an example of a platform that survived its relegation and which subsequently tried to build an alternative at the edge of the mainstream ecosystem. Evaluating deplatformization in terms of governance, the question that arises is who is responsible for cleansing the ecosystem: corporations, states, civil society actors, or all three combined? Understanding the implied governance of deplatformization is imperative to assess the higher stakes in future debates concerning Internet governability.