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The idea of a "public sphere"--a shared, ideologically neutral domain where ideas and arguments may be shared, encountered, and contested--serves as a powerful imaginary in legal and policy discourse, informing both assumptions about how public communication works and ideals to which inevitably imperfect realities are compared. In debates about feasible and legally permissible content governance mechanisms for digital platforms, the public sphere ideal has counseled attention to questions of ownership and control rather than to other, arguably more pressing questions about systemic configuration. This essay interrogates such debates through the lens of infrastructure, with particular reference to the ways that digital tracking and advertising infrastructures perform systemic content governance functions.

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Yale Journal of Law & Technology, Vol. 25, Pp. 1. Special Issue: The Yale Information Society Project and Yale Journal of Law and Technology Digital Public Sphere Series.