What we do

Luminate Strategic Initiatives

The context

At its best, the online world can foster connection, creativity, activism, and enterprise. However, the online space has become distorted by social media companies that prioritise profit over people. 

These platforms are often designed to maximise engagement while constantly and intrusively surveilling online behaviour. The algorithms that curate a user’s experience optimise for attention, even if that means actively promoting content that is polarising, hateful, or simply untrue. 

The social harms of these business models are becoming clear. We are seeing the erosion of our shared reality, our trust, and our rights. In turn, this impacts wider issues, from the fight for climate justice and women’s equality to children’s rights and racial justice.

Societies can address such harms by creating and enforcing the right rules and standards, and by building a better, safer, more inclusive online world.

Our strategic focus

Luminate Strategic Initiatives is focused on addressing these global digital threats through policy change, campaigns, partnerships, and litigation. We aim to help advance a healthier information ecosystem by strengthening the integrity of digital media. We seek urgent change in moving from today’s polarising information market to a healthy digital environment that promotes reason and social cohesion. 

The team operates primarily in Europe, where rules and standards to constrain Big Tech are the world’s strongest and seem most likely to transform positively harmful business models and practices. We also work where we see an opportunity for change by applying direct pressure on the companies. We do this primarily in the US, where many platforms are based. Along with this work, we act to support Luminate’s regional priorities across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Our current priorities

Setting and enforcing rules and standards that promote a healthier digital public sphere

We work to support, promote, and enable the urgent and effective regulation of the digital environment through advocacy and litigation. Specifically, we aim to stop the use of tracking and targeting in ways that artificially amplify harmful and illegal content. We are also acting to help end the automated, algorithmic promotion of content that is illegal, harmful, or in violation of a platform’s terms of service.

Raising public expectations for how Big Tech should operate

Europe continues to create laws to address the negative impacts of Big Tech companies. For these to be effective and properly enforced they require greater public understanding and support. We work with campaigners in Europe that can mobilise citizens in support of enforcement actions against harmful practices.

To do this work we provide grants and partner support, build new institutions and initiatives where we see critical needs and gaps, and where relevant engage in programmatic work. 

Our four key areas of activity are:

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Campaigns and media

Investing in public education and mobilising citizens to demand digital media that put public interest before profit.
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Ecosystems and partnerships

Building the long-term infrastructure and funding collaborations needed to advance a better internet for all.
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Litigation

Challenging unlawful data practices and seeking remedies for harms to people and society.
Campaigns-and-media

Policy

Empowering lawmakers by providing technical expertise and research to support rules that protect democracy – from deception, disinformation, and online incitement to violence.