Purdue University Graduate School
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Essays on Moderation and Economics of Platforms

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posted on 2024-04-15, 13:40 authored by Sameer Madhav BorwankarSameer Madhav Borwankar

In my dissertation, I delve into the moderation and economic dynamics of online platforms. With the proliferation of platforms facilitating user interaction, it becomes imperative to grasp the mechanisms underlying content creation and the economic ramifications of such policies on diverse user groups. Comprising three essays, my dissertation examines the influence of crowd-sourced misinformation monitoring, the effects of privacy on content creation by fact-checkers, and the likelihood of platform acquisition.

In the first essay, I investigate the impacts of crowd-based misinformation monitoring programs by examining how implementing crowd-based monitoring affects both the quality and quantity of user-generated content. Using data from Twitter's Birdwatch program, I find that content quality, measured subjectively through cognition, improves, while objective measures like user engagement show no significant change. Additionally, there's a decrease in sentiment extremity and machine-learning-calculated misinformation, indicating a potential improvement in overall content quality and reduction in misinformation. However, the program's launch leads to fewer tweets suggesting a trade-off with reduced content volume.

In my second essay, I analyze how privacy measures affect fact-checkers' content creation. Using Twitter's Birdwatch program, which assigns aliases to fact-checkers, I study the impact of anonymity on their behavior. The results show that privacy measures lead to more content creation on the main platform without any impact to fact-checking activity. Additionally, the content becomes more neutral and less negative. Users also feel more comfortable discussing political topics on Twitter afterward. These findings underscore the importance of privacy measures for effective misinformation monitoring.

In my third essay, I examine the likelihood of platform company acquisitions, a trend on the rise. These companies' multi-sided nature increases their complexity, presenting both challenges and opportunities in acquisitions. While complexity can lead to information asymmetry, it also enhances attractiveness as an acquisition target. Analyzing Crunchbase data, I find a positive correlation between platform company complexity and acquisition likelihood.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Management

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jinyang Zheng

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Karthik Kannan

Additional Committee Member 2

Zaiyan Wei

Additional Committee Member 3

Hossein Ghasemkhani

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