Netconf 2020 edition

An unconference on the technical, economic and social aspects of network engineering and infrastructure

Platforms, Algorithmic Governance and Privatized Censorship

Submitted by Divij Joshi on Mar 2, 2020

Format of the session: Flash talk (10 mins) Status: Confirmed

Abstract

The emergance of ‘platforms’ has been a defining element of contemporary networked societies. ‘Social Media’ platforms in particular play a critical role in shaping public spheres and redefining democratic participation in the networked sphere, through the algorithmic enforcement of privatized content censorship, filtration and other forms of content moderation practices. These practices are embedded in, and shaped by legal, social and institutional cultures.

In this brief talk, I will explore the world of algorithmic speech governance on social media platforms in light of emerging legal and political trends attempting to influence such practices, such as India’s emerging norms on intermediary liability and the European Union’s rules on automated content filtration for copyright. I argue that automated (or algorithmic) content filtration is both pervasive and inevitable, and legal frameworks must be appropriately framed towards curtailing undemocratic and harmful practices of privatized and opaque content moderation by platforms and their algorithmic systems.

Outline

  1. Introduction - Platforms and the politics of censorship in a networked society.
  2. The emergance of platform power.
  3. The perils of algorithmic content moderation.
  4. Legal frameworks and the inappropriateness of ‘intermediary liability’.
  5. Contending with platforms - public accountability of algorithmic speech governance.

Speaker bio

I am an independent legal researcher and a Mozilla Technology Policy Fellow working on ‘Artificial Intelligence’ policy in India. I have researched and written extensively about technology policy and legal issues including intellectual property rights, intermediary liability and data protection.

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