Meet the New Experts: Legitimacy and Accountability Deficits in the Platform Economy

The platform economy disrupted existing paradigms, announcing the end of the experts as we know them.Licenses and permits applicable to professional services are not valued here. For quality control, consumers rely on online ratings and reviews. However, consumers rely particularly on the reviews of ‘frequent reviewers’ (e.g., Yelp Elite) or the endorsements of the so-called ‘social media influencers’. Advertising companies are also now entrusting their marketing to social media influencers rather than to professionals as these ‘regular individuals’ with millions of followers are more relatable than traditional professionals. Nonetheless, research has shown that these reviews and advice from influencers are often subjective, flawed, and irresponsible. This paper discusses the legitimacy and accountability deficit of these new experts in the platform economy and offers an interdisciplinary perspective on expertise in the platform economy.