ISSR Seminar | Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions That Shape Social Media

Event date/time: 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 12:15pm to 1:15pm
Communications Hub | 3rd Floor, Integrative Learning Center | UMass Amherst

Tarleton Gillespie’s Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions That Shape Social Media investigates how social media platforms police what we post online—and the way these decisions shape public discourse, cultural production, and the fabric of society. Gillespie provides an overview of current social media practices and explains the underlying rationales for how, when, and why “content moderators” censor or promote user-posted content. The book then flips the way we think about moderation, to argue that content moderation is not ancillary to what platforms do, it is essential, definitional, constitutional. And given that, the very fact of moderation should change how we understand what platforms are.

This seminar is cosponsored by ISSR and the Departments of Communication and of Journalism at UMass Amherst.

Tarleton Gillespie is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, an affiliated associate professor in the Department of Communication and Department of Information Science at Cornell University, author of Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (MIT, 2007), co-founder of the blog Culture Digitally, and author of the new book Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media (Yale, 2018).