Notice & Comment

Regulating “Big Tech” and Internet Platforms — A Call for Papers

This week, Senator Hawley made waves by announcing a proposal to require major social media companies to either secure FTC certification that that they are politically unbiased or lose their Section 230 immunity. Days earlier, Wired published a new cover story describing the legal issues surrounding “Backpage,” a controversial web site linked to human trafficking and prostitution.

And in other news, Facebook announced that it’s getting into the cybercurrency business, which immediately raised the eyebrows of US and European regulators; this came just days after the SEC filed a lawsuit against Kik, alleging that its Initial Coin Offering violates federal securities laws.

These are just some of the latest issues surrounding Internet platform companies and other “Big Tech” companies, in addition to questions about the antitrust (or “hipster antitrust“) implications of Amazon, Facebook, and others; or questions of how federal securities laws apply to “Initial Coin Offerings.”

Given how important these and similar issues are, the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State is dedicating one of its annual research roundtables to these fascinating and challenging questions. We published a “call for papers” recently, and I thought I’d reiterate it here in light of recent developments.

The research roundtable will be November 7–8, with a subsequent public policy conference on March 27, 2020.

If you are interested in participating in these discussions, then please send a paper proposal to me at awhite36 [at] gmu [dot] edu. We’re accepting papers on a rolling basis, but with a few papers already accepted we expect to fill the roster in a couple weeks. We happily offer honoraria for accepted papers, to help incubate scholarship on these issues.

And we are interdisciplinary — we welcome papers from legal scholars, political scientists, and political economists.

For the roundtable, we ask only for a very short preliminary draft, 15 to 20 pages sketching out your analysis for the sake of a 75-minute discussion. For the subsequent conference, we ask for an SSRN-quality draft to post in the Gray Center’s Working Papers Series.

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