Posted by: Ray Brescia | June 20, 2018

Uber, Scooters, and Digital Networks for Social Change

In a recent article in the New York Times,  tech reporter Farhad Manjoo discusses the impact that technology companies are having influencing local government policies.  He uses two examples in particular–the efforts by Uber to beat back local ordinances designed to rein the company in and a recent campaign by an electric bike company to fight off legislation designed to curb the spread of these devices–which highlight the power these companies appear to hold over local governments.  But part of the reason they hold so much power is that they are mobilizing constituencies of customers using the very platforms–the mobile apps through which they delivery there services–as delivery and coordination vehicles for political agitation.  In these ways, they are activating networks of supporters using new, digital tools to convert their economic muscle into political throw weight.  Are there lessons here for community-based organizations and social movements in how to activate digital networks for social change?  I discuss the role of new, digital networks in advancing social change in a recent piece I published in the Dickinson Law Review. Read the article here.



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