Since the end of the election, there’s been a lot of discussion about social media’s impact on the outcome, from the circulation of so-called “fake news” to Donald Trump’s use of Twitter.
Who decides what language and imagery is permitted on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest? The platforms are, after all, owned and maintained by private companies.
Here are some thought-provoking articles about how they establish and enforce their use policies. (Note that the language and situations described are crude). Students will be provoked to think hard about free speech and who gets to regulate it.
- Policing the Web’s Lurid Precincts. New York Times, 2010 (1,100 words).
- Inside Facebook’s Outsourced Anti-Porn and Gore Brigade. Gawker, 2012 (1,800 words).
- The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed. Wired, 2014 (3,000 words).
- The secret rules of the internet. The Verge, 2016 (10,000 words).