Paul Gowder, "The Networked Leviathan: For Democratic Platforms" (Cambridge UP, 2023)


Governments and consumers expect internet platform companies to regulate their users to prevent fraud, stop misinformation, and avoid violence. Yet, so far, they've failed to do so. The inability of platforms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon to govern their users has led to stolen elections, refused vaccines, counterfeit N95s in a pandemic, and even genocide. Such failures stem from these companies' inability to manage the complexity of their userbases, products, and their own incentives under the eyes of internal and external constituencies. 

In The Networked Leviathan: For Democratic Platforms (Cambridge UP, 2023), Paul Gowder argues that countries should adapt the institutional tools developed in political science for platform governance to democratize major platforms. Democratic institutions allow knowledgeable actors to freely share and apply their understanding of the problems they face while leaders more readily recruit third parties to help manage their decision-making capacity. 

This book is also available open access on Cambridge Core.

Paul Gowder is Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Research and Intellectual Life at Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law and a Founding Fellow of the Integrity Institute. He is the author of The Rule of Law in the Real World and The Rule of Law in the United States: An Unfinished Project of Black Liberation.

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