Prague, Czechia

5. Civic activities against platforms In practice, there is also other forms of enforcement of business users needs against the platforms in order to improve their positions and (working) conditions on the platforms. Such enforcements complement the regulation or try to be more effective than the existing regulation. The question is if the business users are legally eligible to jointly enforce better terms against the platforms, either by various protests or similar joint actions. The outflow of users from the dominant platform to another alternative platform may be also a solution. 5.1 The Outflow of users from dominant platforms Civic activities such as “the DeGoogle movement” or transition from Facebook to alternative communication platforms such as Telegram have gained ground recently. Promoters of such movements provide several tips for alternatives to e.g. Google products, mostly with alleged greater protection of personal data and based on open-source types of service. However, the alternative platforms still attract only few people. A strong network effect of the dominant platform and its usual character of multi-sided market often prevails and are the most significant barriers for outflow of its users. Simply explained it means that the more customers / clients are on the platform, the more advantageous the platform is for the business users. Such an effect is probably the most common reason why the users do not switch to the alternative. This is also a reason why the business users have only limited options not to be on the dominant (mainstream) platform and to use an alternative platform with better conditions for them or a direct canal to their end customers without the intermediation. Convincing their clientele to use an alternative platform can be very demanding and possibly difficult to implement in practice, but it is still naturally not impossible. However, building comparable own infrastructure may require inherently higher costs, therefore small and medium business users would probably stay on the dominant platform and try to improve the conditions there. 5.2 Collective bargaining of solo self-employed persons towards the platforms In addition to the legislative regulation and executive intervention, the business users of platforms themselves have been trying to improve their low bargaining power by their collective action against the platform providers in the recent years. There were approximately 324 protests by platform workers organized around the world between January 2015 and July 2019, most of them organized for better pay and working conditions (Joyce et al., 2020, p. 4). Although it is true that some protesting users are or should be in the position of employees of the platform


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