In order to study how online platforms decide what can be said online, the Leibniz Institute for Media Research sets up a “Private Ordering Observatory”. In co-operation with researchers from across the world the observatory will investigate the interaction of private rules and public laws in public communication spaces.

Private online communication platforms decide whether presidents can communicate with millions of followers – or whether their accounts are suspended, whether Corona-related disinformation is deleted or conspiracy theories are amplified. The private rules merit close scrutiny and their application deserves careful watching.

Building on decades of research experience on the rules of communication, the Hamburg-based Leibniz Institute for Media Research will host the Private Ordering Observatory (PrObs) as an academic hub focused on pulling together the growing body of research on the norms and practices employed by private online platforms in ordering internet-enabled speech.

In 2021, the Observatory held a series of public events and conducted private interviews with stakeholders from around the world in order to better understand the needs and gaps in the theory and practice of private ordering. Read more about it in our 2021 report.

2021 PrObs Report

January 2022