Businesses have long tried to influence political outcomes, but today, there is a new and potent form of corporate political power—Platform Advocacy. Internet-based platforms, such as Facebook, Google, and Uber, mobilize their user bases through direct solicitation of support and the more troubling exploitation of irrational behavior. Platform Advocacy helps platforms push policy agendas that create favorable legal environments for themselves, thereby strengthening their own dominance in the marketplace. This new form of advocacy will have radical effects on deliberative democracy.
In the age of constant digital noise and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to detect and analyze new forms of political power. This Article will contribute to our understanding of one such new form and provide a way forward to ensure the exceptional power of platforms do not improperly influence consumers and, by extension, lawmakers.
78 Md. L. Rev. 105 (2018)