Who Are the Stakeholders in Platform Governance?

Robert Gorwa
24 Yale J.L. & Tech. 493
The goal of this essay is to more systemically explore the key actors involved in platform governance than has been done so far. What exactly does it mean to be a “governance stakeholder” — and how does it matter for our frames of analysis as to who and what is centered in such definitions? Who are the key “platform governance stakeholders”? And what combinations of actors matter in different domains of platform governance?
This essay engages directly with these questions by presenting a typology of platform governance stakeholders intended to help structure more systematic thinking about the politics of platform capitalism on a global, trans-jurisdictional and trans-sectoral scale. Drawing on a brief review of extant literature in both global governance more generally and platform governance more specifically, I break down the key actors across four levels (“supra-organizational”, “organizational”, “sub-organizational”, “individual”) that correspond to various groupings of actors across different political and economic levels of analysis, from the individual worker all the way up to large constellations of firms, governments, or other actors. It then suggests that the relative importance of these actors will vary in their importance depending on the specific policy issue, the specific context, and the dominant platform type that is being discussed.