Fostering the wealth of networks

How can we ensure that a select few do not monopolize the value derived from content generated by numerous individuals and entities? The French Digital Council advocates for establishing a virtuous cycle of enrichment of the information space.

Paris, 07 February 2024 - Joëlle Toledano and Anne Alombert, members of the French Digital Council, are calling for an independent and impartial review of the contribution made to value creation by tech players amid the European elections and upcoming tech regulation. The conditions for opening social networks to third-party innovation and ensuring a fair relationship with générative AI could therefore be established on this ground.

Read the note

Read the French version

Read the press release

A contribution in the perspective of the European elections

Over the past few years, the European Union has been working to establish a regulatory framework for digital markets and services, punctuated by the political agreement on the AI act. It is necessary to establish the conditions for the deployment of digital services that help address the societal and economic risks posed by social networks. The issue is pressing considering the emergence of new economic players in generative artificial intelligence. That is why Joëlle Toledano, economist, and Anne Alombert, philosopher, recommend:

  • establishing a framework for studying and sharing the keys to understanding the contribution of digital economy players to value creation in an independent and impartial manner, at the risk of seeing existing power relationships replayed ;
  • considering the conditions for opening up social networks to third-party innovations, in line with the European Parliament's resolution on addictive interfaces of online services.

For Joëlle Toledano and Anne Alombert :

The question of the distribution of value is not new, but has been revived by generative AI. Understanding the mechanisms by which value is distributed in the information space is a prerequisite for establishing balanced power relationships between players. This objective, independent and shared understanding of the distribution of value will also be a precondition for opening up social networks to outside innovation and giving users a greater capacity for choice and action.

Create a virtuous cycle of enrichment of the information space

While 68%[1] of French people get their information from social networks, only 16%[2] claim to trust these platforms. Disinformation, harassment, attention-grabbing, personal attacks, self-deprecation, etc. - social networks are closed spaces where no outside innovation is possible, capturing a large part of the value of the content that feeds them. The widespread use of generative artificial intelligence is amplifying fears about the quality of our access to information and makes it difficult to establish the value of the information used in AI services, particularly large language models.

How can it be ensured that a few players do not appropriate the value of content produced by a very large range of individuals and organisations? How do we ensure that the spaces for interaction that today's social networks represent are not governed solely by the will of their owners, but that users are given greater freedom of choice? To address these concerns, Joëlle Toledano and Anne Alombert encourage us to study the distribution of the value created in the digital economy between generative AI systems and other intermediaries in the digital economy. This analysis will make it possible to set out the conditions for opening up social networks, in order to ensure a more democratic flow of information while releasing the potential for innovation that has contributed to the richness of the Internet. The aim is also to enable users to configure their experiences as they wish and to regain control of their digital information environments. In this paper, they detail the means of achieving this from the angle of both institutional and technical governance, by going beyond the current framework of thought, which is essentially focused on the protection of copyright and the implementation of moderation measures by very large digital platforms.

Overview :

I. Understanding the economic models of digital platforms through a trusted platform
  1. The evaluation of economic value created by the information used by generative artificial intelligence (and other intermediaries in the digital economy)
  2. The need for a trusted platform to make data available
II. Rethinking the architecture of the digital information space by opening up social networks
  1. The problem of the closure of social networks and algorithmic recommendation
  2. The need to open social networks to third-party actors
  3. What concrete means to enable the opening of social networks?
  4. Thinking about openness in the new context of the evolving relationship between social networks and conversational agents

Press contact :
Agathe Bougon - - +33 6 14 87 41 66


[1]  Etude Kantar Public onepoint pour La Croix ,2023, p. 22.

[2]  Baromètre de la confiance politique / Opinionway pour Science Po,2023, p. 40.