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Moderation II

· Read 04/01/21


  • There will be another forum thread for next Tuesday's readings
  • To prep for Connie visit, read the T&S of a website
  • April 15 (2 weeks from now): submit paper topic and rationale

[Meta] Aims of book, intervention she's trying to make, why it matters, method

  • Shed light on human labor aspect of content moderation, which has been left out of academic debate
  • Matters because these people play such a key role, yet are invisible; especially because they're chosen to uphold certain cultural values
  • This is very skilled, traumatizing labor... what's at stake in making this part of the story visible?
  • ***I associated this with tech customer support, but that's probably less traumatic
  • Second layer / outer layer: opacity and transparency of technology platforms
  • Methods: made a choice not to ask for the worst things they've seen; challenging the idea that we need to provoke to get generative data

    • Conversations in qualitative methods about ethics of care, reciprocity
  • Treats the interviewees so differently from the way they're used to

Forum conversation starters

  • Bias, tensions between moderation and censorship
  • How do you enforce journalistic ethics at a corporation like this?
  • ***Huge barriers (institutional level): brand protection, the monopolistic role of MegaTech
  • Individual: Mods aren't informed
  • Economics: keeping costs down
  • Deplatforming
  • Labor, stratification (red and white badges)

    • "It's interesting that they grabbed humanities folks too--as if they have some special claim on understanding cultural norms and maybe lower standards for payment?"
    • "+ the paternalism of being from a “top tier school”, like you’re invested in the system, and shame & guilt feel real—top tier school grads typically don’t cause friction, are acculturated in particular ways"
    • "^Scale recruits a lot of MIT cs kids to build AI but do a surprisingly amount of heir data labelling with mturks lol"
    • Individual and collective intervention

Tomás's presentation

  • Platform governance: governance by platforms and governance of platform companies
  • Modes

    • Self-governance
    • External governance: common in Europe around privacy, repudiation of intermediary protection, anti-monopoly
    • Co-governance: w/ civil society orgs, or including user input in decisions
  • 2009: Huge backlash against FB data use policy changes

    • LA Times blog: FB governance poll is a homework assignment no one did
  • "Town halls/hearing sessions are an appeasement tactic that only cedes more power to institutions/employers that hold them"
  • Predecessor to today's Global Oversight Board

    • Members from digital rights and law schools
  • We should stop calling it a "supreme court"
  • "This reminds of corporate HR processes—what laws, what precedent, what how does this work, and university administrative boards"