πŸ“‘ A systemic (not individual) approach to content moderation

Bookmarked Pluralistic: 12 Mar 2022 by Cory DoctorowCory Doctorow (pluralistic.net)

This power-focused analysis thinks about speech systemically, and works more like a class action than an individual case. It has to move beyond the obsession with takedown/leave-up decision, and the appeals process. Instead, it has to focus on design choices about fact-checkers, algorithm design and sensitivity. Most of all, we need to break free of the trap of requiring ever-shorter takedowns of ever-broader categories of speech, with stronger rights of appeal for when this goes wrong.

Focusing on individual cases isn’t just impractical, it’s unhelpful, for four reasons:

i. Individual cases do little to illuminate systemic problems;

ii. Appeals processes do little to fix systemic problems;

iii. Transparency about individual judgments isn’t transparency into system design;

iv. Fixing things for individuals can make them worse for the group.

Cory Doctorow unpacks Evelyn Douek’s paper Content Moderation as Administration and the idea of focusing on systemic speech acts.

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