IGF 2022 Town Hall #73 Platform regulation in the West versus the Rest

Panel - Auditorium - 60 Min


Platform regulation in the West versus the Rest: How to prevent Internet policy from replicating existing power structures

Platform governance is experiencing a watershed moment. From imminent antitrust action in the US to the Digital Services Act in Europe, Western powers have sought to provide checks and balances to the global content platforms which now dominate billions of people’s lives. Conspicuously missing from these conversations are nations that both house the majority of platform users, and the worst of these platform’s impacts.

The current myopic approach contains many underlying tensions and hypocrisies. From online safety laws being passed in the West that would otherwise be deemed egregious attacks on freedom of expression, to the legitimacy of American companies (usually) being the defenders of free speech in non-American contexts - there is a clear need for a new framework that embeds multi-stakeholder consensus and deliberation.

Calls for greater investment in local language and cultural capacity in content moderation activities are promising, but are ultimately insufficient in actually shifting real governance power to those that are most affected. In this session, an expert panel unpacks radical ideas that will rebalance how the platform governance debate can truly ensure equity.

We intend to keep the conversation as blended as possible by asking questions from both the online and in person audience, and by directing specific questions towards the online participants, to ensure they lead the conversation as much as the in person participants.


Tony Blair Institute
Nate Persily, Stanford Cyber Policy Center, Academia, Western European and Others
Sinit Zeru, Tony Blair Institute, Technical Society, Africa
Sam Sharps, Tony Blair Institute, Technical Society, Western European and Others
Matt Nguyen, Tony Blair Institute, Technical Society, Asia-Pacific
Rhea Subramanya, Tony Blair Institute, Technical Society, Western European and Others


Emmanuel Lubanzadio - Head of Public Policy SSA, Twitter
Tun Khin - President, Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
James Manyika - SVP Tech and Society, Google, also McKinsey
Laura Chinchilla - ex-President, Costa Rica
Ory Okolloh - Director of Investments, Omydiar Network
Nate Persily - Director, Stanford Cyber Policy Centre

Onsite Moderator

Sinit Zeru - Tony Blair Institute

Online Moderator

Sam Sharps - Tony Blair Institute


Matt Nguyen - Tony Blair Institute



Targets: Our session seeks to actively contribute to SDG 16 - Ensuring Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals. These goals speak to the heart of this topic, how to ensure equitable participation in a novel and fast-moving area of global governance.

Ensuring equitable and meaningful engagement internationally within platform governance is a pivotal challenge of our time, cutting across how human rights, civic participation, rule of law and international collaboration work in the modern age. Key to this discussion is SDG 17.6 as our panelists unpack how triangular international cooperation can be truly galvanised.