Holding Big-Tech Accountable in Imperfect Democracies

Functioning democracies are not only recognizing the challenges posed by big-tech: they are also making significant efforts in addressing these concerns through comprehensive regulatory mechanisms. In contrast, emerging economies and nations with challenged governance grapple with a distinct uphill battle in their journey to ensure big-tech accountability. This disparity can be traced back to several interlinked factors:

Capacity Constraints

In many emerging economies, civil society and research institutions might find themselves at a disadvantage. They often lack the investigative expertise and resources needed to navigate the intricate challenges posed by influential big-tech companies. This knowledge gap isn't just an academic void; it directly impacts these nations' ability to draft informed policies and actionable recommendations that would keep these tech behemoths in check.


Restrictions on Civil Society

The complexities of big-tech extend beyond algorithms and data. In nations with challenged governance, where freedoms might be curtailed, civil society organizations and researchers operate within a constricted space. Under the weight of these restrictive conditions, conducting independent research, fostering critical analysis, and promoting public discourse turn into monumental challenges. This restrictive environment makes it harder to hold tech giants accountable for their actions, as the mechanisms for critique and accountability are stifled.


Governmental Inaction

Even when diligent researchers and advocacy groups manage to pierce through the obscurities and identify significant findings related to big-tech's operations, the response from the authorities remains lackluster. In nations with challenged governance structures, there's often apparent inertia or even outright resistance to adopting necessary actions. Such hesitance isn't merely bureaucratic; it can stem from a reluctance to challenge existing power dynamics or to unveil potentially uncomfortable collaborations between state entities and tech giants.


To truly address big-tech accountability in these challenging contexts, a multifaceted approach is needed. This approach must not only dissect and understand the intricacies of the tech industry but also aim to fortify civil society, boost expertise, and create an environment where independent research and open dialogue can thrive.