Abstract: The datafication and platformization of social processes further the overall shift from an open, public, and decentralized internet towards a private and siloed realm that establishes power asymmetries between those who provide data and those who own, trade, and control data. The ongoing process of datafying societies embraces the logics of aggregation and automation that increasingly negotiate transactions between markets and social entities, informing governance systems, institutions, and public discourse. This thematic issue presents a collection of articles that tackle the political economy of datafication from three main perspectives: (a) digital media infrastructures and its actors, data structures, and markets; (b) the articulation of data power, public access to information, data privacy, and the risks of citizens in a datafied society; and (c) the policies and regulations for effective, independent media institutions and data sovereignty. It concludes with a reflection on the role of media and communication scholarship when studying sociotechnical processes controlled by giant technological companies.
Keywords: datafication; datafied society; data power; digital infrastructure; media policy; media political economy; media regulation; platforms