Postdoctoral Researcher – Social media content monetization and platform governance (1.0 FTE)

Postdoctoral Researcher – Social media content monetization and platform governance (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
10 Nov 1 Dec Utrecht

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 1 Dec 2022).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Would you like to participate in project initiatives aimed at knowledge dissemination/societal impact and undertake a research visit to Sheffield University?

Job description

The European Research Council Starting Grant project HUMANads, hosted at Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE) within the Utrecht University School of Law is hiring a postdoctoral researcher in the field of media studies, who can do qualitative empirical research on the topic of native advertising by content creators on social media, under the supervision of dr. Catalina Goanta (Utrecht University) and dr. Sophie Bishop (Sheffield University).

Content monetization reflects a new era of social media business models, changing the nature of digital advertising from platform to human ads. Human ads are Internet influencers (also referred to as content creators) who earn revenue from social media advertising by creating authentic, relatable advertising content for their armies of followers. While their activity has been touted as a new form of creative labour, the overlap between their freedom of expression, political thought and advertising interests raises some serious concerns. One underlying danger is the convergence of speech in two ways. Consumers and citizens can no longer distinguish (i) between ads and non-ads, and (ii) between commercial and political communications. This is a new form of consumer vulnerability on digital markets where speech cannot be separated from platform infrastructure. Human ads are an emerging category of stakeholders who turn engagement into currency in novel ways. Users are faced with a double transparency problem:
(i) human ads have incentives to hide commercial interests, and;
(ii) platforms have incentives to algorithmically amplify human ads engagement in opaque ways.

This reflects a general good faith and fair dealing problem: the social media economy is increasingly based on deceit. Without a cohesive fair advertising framework, vulnerable consumer citizens are literally left to their own devices in fending off misinformation and manipulation affecting democracy and market stability alike.

This postdoctoral project consists in conducting qualitative empirical research into the monetization business models and their governance by social media platforms. It focuses on clarifying questions such as:
  • How do social media platforms communicate monetization opportunities to content creators? What are these opportunities? What off-platform monetization business models are out there?
  • What are the platform rules relating to content monetization?
  • How do content creators relate to the governance of content monetization by platforms?
  • What methodologies are most suited to garner more insights into creator perceptions relating to monetization?
This postdoctoral position is part of the European Research Council Starting Grant HUMANads. The postdoctoral candidate will have an opportunity and be expected to further define the initial research objectives set out by the project, in collaboration with the supervision team. This position will be part of a broader project team featuring computer scientists and legal scholars, and it will be based in the RENFORCE research center and the Molengraaff Institute for private law.


Utrecht University


We expect the candidate to:
  • conduct innovative research in connection to the overarching research goals;
  • participate in the organization of research activities and events, such as conferences, workshops and joint publications;
  • regularly present intermediate research results at (inter)national workshops and conferences, and publish them in proceedings and leading journals;
  • proactively engage with international networks of researchers and other stakeholders interested on platform governance and content monetization;
  • participate in project initiatives aimed at knowledge dissemination and societal impact;
  • undertake a research visit to Sheffield University.
  • a doctorate (PhD) in media studies, sociology, communication science or any related areas;
  • a strong affinity with the core theme of the research programme and an interest in crossing the disciplinary borders of legal doctrine;
  • team player with good communication skills;
  • excellent command of English;
  • advanced knowledge in qualitative empirical methodologies;
  • any knowledge of computational social science methodologies is an asset.

Conditions of employment

This is an appointment of 1.0 FTE for the duration of 18 months.
The minimum gross salary is €3,974,- and the maximum gross salary is €4,123,- (scale 11 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) per month, at a full-time employment.

Besides that, you will receive a holiday allowance of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 %. Utrecht University also has an appealing package of terms of employment, including the choice for a good balance between work and private (a good arrangement for leave, among other things), possibilities for development and an excellent pension scheme. For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance is a faculty at the heart of society, with a strong focus on social issues. Our subjects of Law, Economics and Governance give us a strong mix of academic disciplines that complement and enhance each other. This is a unique combination and a mark of our faculty's strength. 

The Utrecht University School of Law has provided quality research and education for more than 350 years. Constant innovation has enabled the School to maintain its leading position. Top-ranking research is conducted in all important legal fields: private law, criminal law, constitutional and administrative law, EU law, public international law. Researchers collaborate intensively with foreign partners, mainly from the angle of European and comparative law. The School of Law also conducts contract research and consultancy for other organisations. The extensive educational programme is based on academic research conducted within the faculty of Law, Economics and Governance. Students are trained to be highly qualified, internationally-oriented lawyers on the basis of modern didactical principles. The School of Law aspires to a diverse body of staff (and students) and it similarly strives to create and sustain a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. Women and candidates with a minority background are encouraged to apply for this position. For information about our policy, please visit Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

The Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE) is a dynamic research programme for some 60 researchers from EU law, international law, constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, private law, economic law, and criminology. It builds on the Utrecht Law School Europa Institute's renowned and longstanding reputation in the field of the interaction between European and national legal orders.


  • Research, development, innovation
  • Law
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €3974—€4123 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1200046



Newtonlaan 201, 3584 BH, Utrecht

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you