Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Denaturalizing digital platforms: is mass individualization here to stay?

Mansell, Robin ORCID: 0000-0003-3950-3468 and Steinmueller, W.E. (2022) Denaturalizing digital platforms: is mass individualization here to stay? International Journal of Communication, 16. 461 - 481. ISSN 1932-8036

[img] Text (Mansell_denaturalizing-digital-platforms--published) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (258kB)


This article examines the consistency of mass individualization or personalization techniques used by digital platforms with the imaginaries and logics of neoclassical economic theory and behavioral economics. We identify limitations of contemporary policy and regulatory responses to harms associated with datafication practices. We argue that more attention needs to be given to denaturalizing claims that enhancements of mass individualization techniques are a “natural” outcome of digital technology innovation and market dynamics. To avoid harms associated with datafication and to secure public values, it is essential to imagine a future digital world that is not dependent on massive collection of individuals’ data for commercial or public ends. This might require the blocking of some applications before, rather than after, they have been deployed. Doing so will require broad agreement that mass individualization techniques are inconsistent with valuing human autonomy and effective individual choice in Western societies. Skepticism about policy intervention in the platform market is answered by examining how surprising opportunities for change may arise from contestations of current applications of these technologies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2020 11:33
Last Modified: 24 May 2024 13:30

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics