Corinne Cath-Speth
Tue Oct 20 07:26:55 +0000 2020

This is the umphiest example of content moderation using the Internet's infrastructure because one individual decided "enuff's enuff."

Good for them, but bad as a structural response to moderating (hate) speech and online conspiracies. 1/8

There is a pattern here. It goes something like:

Act 1: Company provides B2B service (or servers) to contentious content (knowingly or less knowingly).

Act 2: Civil society et al. make fuss & call for accountability. 2/8

Act 3: Nothing. Crickets. 🦗🦗 Maybe a corporate "We are neutral" statement.

Act 4: Visible protagonist (CEO, researcher, Internet evangelist etc.) intervenes leveraging cultural capital.

Act 5: Company drops that one particular bad client, but not others. 3/8

Act 6: Company puts out a statement: "Here are our 15 ethical principles" OR "We will join self-regulatory human rights/ethics/justice initiative".

Act 7: Company provides service or servers to contentious content (knowingly or less knowingly). etc. etc. 4/8

It's like groundhog day, or whack-a-mole or whatever idiom exists for treating the symptoms rather than the concern here: immense consolidation of relatively unaccountable online power. 5/8

So what's the solution? There isn't a single one, but it starts with as @suusreport and I argue below, demanding corporate accountability and reigning in these online cowboys. 6/8

It probably also helps, as I wrote elsewhere, to personally know @jack or @KimKardashian 😂😊 7/8

And to keep an eye out for this legal case in Germany, where the owners of a web-hosting company (housed in a bunker) are being prosecuted for the content hosted on their servers. 8/8

Also, if I were to restart my phd (lol) I would focus on the private peering agreements that are at the heart of so many of these decisions.

@ashwinjm @zielwasser @jessesowel have written about this beautifully!

Also, I am sure there is some spunky IR angle to this that @rgorwa @gap_the_mind or @nielstenoever should write about

Tue Oct 20 07:50:38 +0000 2020