The Rise of “Digital States” in International Law

The paper analyses the role that international law plays on the regulation of transnational digital companies, such as Facebook, Google or Twitter.
Through their unique position as transnational platforms, result of their unique know-how and dominion over their markets, they developed globalized norm-like standards, creating complex quasi legal orders in virtual border-less areas which are formally private, but increasingly perceived as public. Each of the classic state powers can be found, in some way, in these companies which have been, so far, exempt from traditional accountability mechanisms duties of due process and respect of human rights, representing an unprecedented challenge to institutional democratic accountability.
By looking at Facebook as a case-study, an argument is made that international law must quickly overcome the dogma of statehood and tackle new state-like entities which do not formerly qualify as states, to avoid disastrous consequences for liberal democracies.