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 https://t.co/2h4fg9TEK3
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 https://t.co/V7m1amUd5X
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
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!