On March 24, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion titled “The Politicisation of Digital Supply Chains as a New Geopolitical Strategy. How Can States Resist?”
The combined market value of the world's five largest companies, four of which are technology companies, is over $10 trillion dollars, which exceeds the gross domestic product of most countries. Among them, Western transnational companies Meta
and Google remain clear monopolists in the digital sphere. Digital giants accumulate users' personal data in order to use it to select relevant content, as well as to extract commercial benefits and influence the consumer behavior, views and preferences of millions of people. They can block access to digital markets, limit the presence of users on social networks, affect smartphone shipments, or remove specific content in a matter of hours.
In this regard, questions arise about the positioning of platforms and the possibility of neutrality, which could ensure information security and the freedom of users. However, multinational companies are increasingly engaged in advancing the interests of specific groups and states, and their data collection activities lack transparency and accountability. All this brings to the agenda issues related to the governance mechanisms of digital platforms, their accountability to local law, the ethical use of artificial intelligence, and how to combat the threat of fake news and misinformation.
Such trends are pushing many to embrace the idea of creating and developing alternative digital platforms, which have great potential and could compete with the “giants”. Over the past years, companies in Russia and some non-Western countries have been successfully developing their own platforms, which are used by tens of millions of people around the world.
How practical is the idea of digital platform neutrality? Can Russian and Asian platforms completely replace Western competitors? What will be the future of digital platforms? Participants of the expert discussion answered these and other questions.
- Arvind Gupta, Head and Co-Founder of the Digital India Foundation
- Igor Ashmanov, President of Kribrum JSC
- Glenn Diesen, professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway
- Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club.