Making the Internet Safe for Democracy

Issue Date April 2021
Volume 32
Issue 2
Page Numbers 37–44
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The power of large internet platforms to amplify or silence certain voices at a scale that can alter major political outcomes poses a grave threat to democracy. Approaches to reducing this power have thus far fallen into four main categories: 1) using antitrust legislation to break up companies such as Facebook and Google; 2) government regulation of content; 3) data portability, or empowering users to move their data between platforms; and 4) applying privacy legislation to limit how platforms can use the data they collect. Yet each of these four approaches is inadequate in its own way. A more promising solution lies in using both technology and regulation to outsource content curation from the dominant platforms to a competitive layer of “middleware companies.”

About the Author

Francis Fukuyama is Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University, where he also serves as Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law and director of the Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Public Policy.

View all work by Francis Fukuyama