"Online platforms such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook play an increasingly central role in the economy and society. They operate as digital intermediaries across interconnected sectors and markets subject to network effects. These firms have grown to an unprecedented scale, propelled by data-driven business models. Online platforms have a massive impact on individual users and businesses, and are recasting the relationships between customers, advertisers, workers, and employers."

"Online platforms: economic and societal effects", 2021
European Parliamentary Research Service

The Project

The INCA project investigates the impact that so-called digital platforms have on European democracies and institutions. Indeed, while promoting economic growth and labour transformations, these platforms pose challenges to policymakers and citizens in relation to people' participation in decision-making processes, wealth inequalities and erosion of trust into public institutions. In particular, so-called GAFAM (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft) are becoming more and more infrastructures for opinion-making, labour organization and political debate. Their increasing power in shaping and influencing such issues opened up a wide debate on the way to deal with these transformations. While European societies grew up based on liberal democracies and institutions with their capacity to sustain a coordinated market economy, today their role seems to be reduced because of the difficulties to regulate platforms' corporate power that spread through politics, economy and culture.
INCA project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 101061653.


University of Bologna website
University of Wroclaw website
University of Tilburg website
Collaborative Laboratory for Labour, Employment and Social Protection website

University of Barcelona website
University of Tartu website
Foundation for Urban Innovation website
The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society website

Urbasofia website
Elhuyar website
Bit-Habitat website
University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland website

SmartData group’s task

The main goals of the SmartData group include the investigation of the narrative that captures the social and political self-image that Big-Tech companies project in their public discourse; the analysis of specific discursive political strategies of Big-Tech by uncovering their framing of the Digital Market Act and Digital Service Act; and the understanding of the impact that corporate communication has on citizens' perception of the companies' role in society and political processes.