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Custodians of the Internet

Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions That Shape Social Media

Tarleton Gillespie



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Yale University
03 July 2018
Society & Social Sciences; Media studies; Ethical issues: censorship; Freedom of information & freedom of speech; Information technology industries
A revealing and gripping investigation into how social media platforms police what we post online-and the large societal impact of these decisions Most users want their Twitter feed, Facebook page, and YouTube comments to be free of harassment and porn. Whether faced with fake news or livestreamed violence, content moderators -who censor or promote user???posted content-have never been more important. This is especially true when the tools that social media platforms use to curb trolling, ban hate speech, and censor pornography can also silence the speech you need to hear.

In this revealing and nuanced exploration, award???winning sociologist and cultural observer Tarleton Gillespie provides an overview of current social media practices and explains the underlying rationales for how, when, and why these policies are enforced. In doing so, Gillespie highlights that content moderation receives too little public scrutiny even as it is shapes social norms and creates consequences for public discourse, cultural production, and the fabric of society. Based on interviews with content moderators, creators, and consumers, this accessible, timely book is a must???read for anyone who's ever clicked like or retweet. ]]>
By:   Tarleton Gillespie
Imprint:   Yale University
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 246mm,  Width: 160mm,  Spine: 26mm
Weight:   604g
ISBN:   9780300173130
ISBN 10:   030017313X
Pages:   296
Publication Date:   03 July 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Tarleton Gillespie is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research New England and an affiliated associate professor at Cornell University. He cofounded the blog Culture Digitally. His previous book is the award-winning Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture.

Reviews for Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions That Shape Social Media

Truly stellar. Gillespie's analysis deftly contextualizes moderation policies on social media platforms, and illuminates how the platforms' underlying values are baked into these policies. The result is essential reading. --Whitney M. Phillips, author of This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture Despite the level of opacity and inaccessibility characteristic of how social media platforms moderate the content we post online, Gillespie provides a detailed look under the hood and conveys clearly why it all matters. --Philip M. Napoli, author of Audience Evolution: New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences No one knows how digital platforms are shaping our lives better than Tarleton Gillespie. This book is an essential guide to the social and technical processes that animate our new media - and to the principals by which we might put them to more democratic ends. --Fred Turner, author of The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties Online platforms are defining our technological landscape, shaping our lives online and off. Custodians of the Internet is the exquisitely-drawn map that shows us how they do it. --Jonathan Zittrain, author of The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It

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