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metadata.dc.title: The technicity of platform governance: structure and evolution of Facebook’s APIs
Authors: van der Vlist, Fernando 
Helmond, Anne 
Burkhardt, Marcus 
Seitz, Tatjana 
Institute: DFG-Sonderforschungsbereich 1187 "Medien der Kooperation" 
Free keywords: APIs, platform governance, platform evolution, platform power, data strategy, Facebook
Dewey Decimal Classification: 302.23 Medien (Kommunikationsmittel), Medienwissenschaft
Issue Date: 2021
Publish Date: 2021
Series/Report no.: Working paper series / SFB 1187 Medien der Kooperation 
Researchers, policymakers, and competition and regulation authorities worldwide recognise application pro- gramming interfaces (APIs) for powering the digital economy and driving processes of datafication and platformisation. However, it is unclear how APIs tie into the power of, and gov- ernance by, large digital platforms. This article traces the rela- tionality between Facebook’s APIs, platform governance, and data strategy based on an empirical and evolutionary analy- sis. It examines a large corpus of (archived) developer pages and API reference documentation to determine the technicity of platform governance – the technical dimension and dynam- ics of how and what platforms like Facebook seek to govern. It traces how Facebook Platform evolved into a complex layered and interconnected governance arrangement, wherein techni- cal API specifications serve to enforce (changes to) platform policy and (data) strategy. Finally, the article discusses the significance of this technicity in specifying the material condi- tions for app and business development ‘on top of’ platforms and for maintaining infrastructural and evolutive power over their ecosystems.
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:467-19380
Appears in Collections:Publikationen aus der Universität Siegen

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