Glossary of Platform Law and Policy Terms

Social Network

Cite this article as:
Enguerrand Marique (17/12/2021). Social Network. In Belli, L.; Zingales, N. & Curzi, Y. (Eds.), Glossary of Platform Law and Policy Terms (online). FGV Direito Rio.

Author: Enguerrand Marique

A ‘social network’ is a platform-based service that enables users to share and exchange information with other individuals also using the network. Its purpose can be the sharing and exchange of political, commercial, personal interests, or mixed information. Each user has a profile, which can be added within one personal network.

A social network has features enabling users to exchange information with each other publicly or semi-publicly.

  • ‘Public’ means that information sharing is unrestrained.
  • ‘Semi-public’ means that a user is able to disclose (private) information to a large set of users at a single time that have been authorized to be part of the users’ network.
  • ‘Purely private’ exchange of information, that allow individual to share and exchange information through direct messages or mails (even in groups), and which require to know a private identifier of an individual do typically fall outside the scope of the definition of a social network. (e.g., of identifier not publicly shared: e-mail address, phone number, private pseudonym. This contrasts with a public pseudonym or an official first name and surname)

Within social networks, the platforms that enable the publishing of content and information through multiple sources and devices are often called ‘social media’.

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By Enguerrand Marique

Dr. Enguerrand Marique is an Assistant Professor in Conflict Solving Institutions and Digital conflict resolution at Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands) and a guest lecturer at the UCLouvain (Belgium) and Université Saint-Louis, Brussels (Belgium). His current research interests address conflict resolution between users and platforms, EU harmonization policies and digital governance.

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