What we talk about when we talk about platform transparency?

Where individuals interact with online platforms, it is often assumed that transparency is the answer to the complexity of technology and business models. Constant confrontation with black boxes leads to sense of disquiet and disempowered that is thought to be best tackled by opening them up for the individuals. Concerns over giving access to your data? More information about the scope of processing. Worried about algorithms? Once again, information about their internal logic is the solution. In this paper I explore the dark side of the idea of individual-level transparency. Digital services are so embedded in daily lives that constant attempts to control the data flows paradoxically leads to so called ‘digital resignation’. Focus on transparency only distracts from the fact that many problems created by power imbalances, like disinformation, manipulation, discrimination, would be best addressed at collective level by public authorities equipped with powerful accountability apparatus.