The (Private) Public Sphere: Social Media Content Moderation and the Public Interest

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The (Private) Public Sphere: Social Media Content Moderation and the Public Interest
Presenter(s) Jillian York, Sarah Myers West, Matthew Stender
Title(s)
Organization(s) EFF, USC
Project(s) Onlinecensorship.org
Country(ies) Germany, US
Social media @jilliancyork, @sarahbmyers, @stenderworld
2017 theme Policy & Advocacy

The role of social media companies in arbitrating what speech can stay online and what is unacceptable has been increasingly on the public agenda over the past year. As companies begin to confront demands from the public that they take into consideration the public interest as they make decisions about content moderation, it feels like an appropriate time to consider what the public interest is in the current context. Who should decide? How would we know what it looks like? And moreover, how should companies make choices about what is/isn’t in our interest to know about? Do they have editorial responsibilities akin to those of newspapers?

It’s time to hold a conversation about how content moderation effects our public sphere, what we as users want that public sphere to look like, and how we might go about holding social media companies accountable to these imperatives. This session aims to make steps toward this objective by discussing and, potentially, developing a draft set of principles we would seek companies to uphold.


Format Conversation
Target Groups Journalists, Policy/Advocacy Professionals, Academia, Activists
Length 1 hour
Skill Level Novice
Language English


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