Digital participation is limited by design | #speakup barometer | key findings | DW | 25.10.2019
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#speakup barometer | key findings

Digital participation is limited by design

The growing dominance of a select few platforms is becoming a problem for digital participation. A platform’s design dictates not only how people are able to participate online, but also curtails people’s ability to engage in the further development of that platform. As such, existing cultural norms and local specificities are simply not incorporated into their design. In-platform communication takes place according to the rules of internationally set community standards, which also act to flatten cultural norms. There are rarely feedback options – especially in local languages – for users to protect themselves or proactively engage in change. Take the massive hate campaign against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar as an example. Not only was it revealed much too late, but little was done to counteract the damage once it was uncovered.


The #speakup barometer is a DW Akademie project that examines the connection between digital participation, freedom of expression and access to information. Learn more at