IGF 2023 WS #432 Global Goals, Local Needs: Navigating Platform Transparency

Organizer 1: Jhalak Mrignayani Kakkar, 🔒
Organizer 2: Clara Leitao de Almeida, 🔒
Organizer 3: Aishwarya Giridhar, 🔒Centre for Communication Governance
Organizer 4: Sachin Dhawan, Centre for Communication Governance, National Law University Delhi
Organizer 5: Shukla Shobhit, NLUD CCG
Organizer 6: Tavishi Ahluwalia, 🔒

Speaker 1: Jason Pielemeier, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Nicolo Zingales, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Tarunima Prabhakar, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Guy Berger, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 5: Emma Llanso, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Jhalak Mrignayani Kakkar, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Clara Leitao de Almeida, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Shukla Shobhit, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. Should platform regulation aim to create harmonised frameworks for platform transparency across jurisdictions? What are the benefits and pitfalls of having such common standards?

B. What are the potential opportunities and challenges for Global Majority jurisdictions in adapting the transparency mechanisms formulated in the Global North?

C. What are the gaps in the prevailing approaches to platform transparency in the Global North? How should these approaches account for the risks posed by platforms to vulnerable communities in the Global Majority? What can the Global Majority teach us about designing effective regulatory frameworks around transparency and accountability?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Through the session, participants and attendees would be introduced to the range of platform transparency mechanisms devised across jurisdictions and their common and their distinctive features. They would also gain an insight into the discourse surrounding harmonisation of platform regulations and the trade-offs involved in attempting such harmonisation.

Further, participants would be able to engage with the perspectives that the diverse set of panelists will offer, on the disproportionate impact on user rights on social media platforms in various jurisdictions across the world. They would be able to understand ways in which such Global Majority experiences, as well as discourses surrounding transparency and accountability in the Global Majority, can constructively feed into regulatory frameworks on platform transparency across the world.



Social media platforms have been linked to a variety of harms such as the loss of privacy, mis/disinformation, and polarisation. Transparency has emerged as a central ideal to hold such platforms accountable, and enhance public understanding of their impact on fundamental rights. Numerous regulatory proposals on transparency are at various stages in the European Union, Brazil, India, and other jurisdictions. These include measures such as transparency reporting, providing researchers access to data, and conducting periodic audits and risk-assessments.

However, not all such measures are likely to be equally effective across all jurisdictions, given differences in local contexts and capabilities. Moreover, as researchers and whistleblowers have highlighted, the most egregious harms from platforms are experienced by the Global Majority. Most approaches to platform transparency are currently being designed in the Global North and often do not directly serve vulnerable and marginalised communities in the Global Majority who are most susceptible to harm.

In this session, we aim to explore gaps in existing approaches to platform transparency, and the causes and evolution of the outsized harms experienced by the Global Majority. Through this, we will reflect on lessons from the Global Majority’s experience with platforms to strengthen global transparency standards. In this context, we will draw from empirical research being conducted in Brazil on how platforms tend to treat transparency requests from Global Majority countries.

More generally, our session will reflect on the array of transparency mechanisms being contemplated in various jurisdictions and consider whether any common principles or standards for platform transparency emerge. We will examine whether global harmonisation on platform transparency standards is possible or is even desirable, considering differences in local contexts and capabilities. Through our discussion, we hope to identify how learnings from the Global Majority can enrich and be incorporated into global standards on platform transparency.

Expected Outcomes

The Centre for Communication Governance (CCG) at the National Law University Delhi, and the Center for Technology and Society (CTS) at FGV School of law, together with the Global Network Initiative (GNI) and other civil society actors, has established an Action Coalition on Meaningful Transparency (ACT) to build global collaboration across various streams of digital transparency work, with diversity of perspectives. This session is a part of our efforts to build a global community of researchers and other stakeholders, working on issues relating to platform governance, particularly in the Global Majority.

The session would also inform processes at the IGF Dynamic Coalition on Platform Responsibility, led by FGV. The Coalition is a multistakeholder endeavour that aims to produce model contractual provisions, which can be incorporated in platforms’ Terms of Service to provide intelligible mechanisms that protect users’ human rights and foster platforms’ responsibility.

Hybrid Format: The session is designed as a roundtable with a diverse group of experts. It will be conducted in a hybrid format and strive to facilitate meaningful engagement for both online and onsite participants. In order to make the session interactive, we will allocate sufficient time for questions and comments from the audience. Participants can provide their inputs either by speaking online/ in person, typing in questions or comments on the live chat on the official online participation platform, or on a public Google document. We will encourage the onsite participants to also use these tools so that they are able to engage with those joining online. Our on-site and online moderators will monitor participant questions and comments, flag them for the speakers, and highlight any emerging themes. In addition, we will be using online polls to drive discussions and to make the sessions more interactive and collaborative.