Reality 2.0 Newsletter - February 11, 2020: Content Moderation is Complicated

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A Quick Plug

Episode 56: The Age of the Moderator

Katherine Druckman, Doc Searls and Petros Koutoupis talk Twitter's new Birdwatch experiment, Signal's resistance to moderation, and Redditors' impact on the stock market.

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The problem with content moderation in giant silos is the giant silos. And the problem with moderating giant silos is that it can't be done. Quote from Doc Searls

Web platforms of all sizes struggle with moderating user content, but how much and what is appropriate? This week, we talked about Twitter’s new Birdwatch feature, which will try crowdsourcing content moderation and fact-checking, Signal’s reluctance to establish an abuse policy, and a financial app’s approach to a hoard of short squeezers. These issues are varied, but their common thread is their approach to controlling the flow of internet communication.

In an ideal world, we’d all like to keep the internet free and open, and ultimately a force for good, but that turns out to be a lofty goal. So, in order to get the internet we want, moderation of some kind is likely necessary. Twitter’s approach seems ambitious at their scale, but it will be an interesting experiment to watch. Is crowdsourced fact-checking possible without turning Twitter into a giant neighborhood full of Mrs. Kravitzes?


Signal is, of course, a different beast altogether. The platform exists to provide end-to-end encrypted messaging, so a hands-off approach seems appropriate there. We’d like to hear from you on this though. Is there an appropriate way to address platform abuse on a platform that exists to ensure privacy?

We hope you’ll listen to the episode and send us our thoughts here in a comment, or on any of our social outlets, or via our contact form.

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