Leighton Andrews’ Working Paper addresses the unfinished process of regulating Facebook, writes Philip Schlesinger. His analysis provides us with a compendious and up to date account of how, from a range of perspectives, UK regulators have been approaching this complex task.
Despite this specific focus, Andrews’ account has been shaped by his acute sense of how the question of platform regulation is playing out internationally as well as nationally. His study, which has the advantage of providing specific detail along with drawing out the general implications of the case in question, is deeply informed by current debate in regulation studies. It is also very sensitive to the power plays that often make the intended objects of regulation so refractory. Major players are also themselves inclined to engage in regulatory politics, both within and across jurisdictions.
In the course of offering the reader his detailed insights into the various perspectives presently shaping the debate over regulation, Leighton Andrews conceptualises today’s mood for intervention as working itself out through an incremental ‘sense-making’ process, a putting-out of feelers and a flying of trial balloons about how best to handle economic, political, cultural and social questions of increasing urgency.Continue reading