Platform power and authoritarian information control in Russia
Online platforms play an increasingly important role in the dissemination of political information. Building upon scholarship on platform power (Van Dijck et al, 2019), this project examines the shifting power relationships between states, tech business, news producers and citizens in autocracies. It focuses on Russia, a country where internet freedom is significantly restricted. The project studies how platform power intersects with authoritarian information control by exploring, e.g., platforms’ content moderation practices and compliance with governmental take-down requests. In short: how do Russian platforms (e.g., Yandex, VK) and foreign platforms operating in Russia (e.g., Google, Facebook, YouTube) use their political power? And how does the Russian government, in turn, seek to negotiate their influence? The project sets out to, first, map the role of platforms in the Russian online information ecosystem. Second, it examines to what extent platform power contributes towards the exercise of governmental information control.
Main Research Topics
- Internet freedom
- Platform governance
- Political communication
- Digital journalism
- Since 2019, Assistant Professor in Cyber-Security and Politics, Maastricht University
- Since 2019, Visiting Researcher (non-resident), Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki
- 2018–2019, NWO Rubicon Postdoctoral Fellow, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki
- 2017–2018, Postdoctoral Researcher, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki
- 2016–2017, Lecturer in East European Studies, University of Amsterdam
- Sivetc, L., & Wijermars, M. (Forthcoming). The vulnerabilities of trusted notifier-models in Russia: The case of Netoscope. Media and Communication.
- Makhortykh, M., & Wijermars, M. (Forthcoming). Can filter bubbles protect information freedom? Discussions of algorithmic news recommenders in Eastern Europe. Digital Journalism.
- Wijermars, M. (2021). Russia’s law ‚On News Aggregators‘: Control the news feed, control the news? Journalism. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884921990917
- Wijermars, M. (2021). Selling internet control: The framing of the Russian ban of messaging app Telegram. Information, Communication and Society. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2021.1933562
- Gritsenko, D., Wijermars, M., & Kopotev, M. (Eds.) (2021). The Palgrave Handbook of Digital Russia Studies. Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-42855-6
- Wijermars, M. (2021). The digitalization of Russian politics and political participation. In D. Gritsenko, M. Wijermars, & M. Kopotev (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Digital Russia Studies (pp. 15-32). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-42855-6_2
- Wijermars, M., & Lehtisaari, K. (Eds.) (2020). Freedom of Expression in Russia’s New Mediasphere.