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The Internet of Garbage

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  447 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Sarah Jeong, a journalist trained as a lawyer at Harvard Law School, discusses the problem of “online harassment,” with various accounts of harassment that have made their way into mainstream media, as well as lesser-known ones. The Internet of Garbage considers why and how to recalibrate this ongoing project of garbage-removal from content platforms and social media netwo ...more
ebook, Google Play, 92 pages
Published July 15th 2015 by Forbes Media
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Jan The new edition of the book was just published by The Verge and can be downloaded for free:

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Emma Sea
Oct 30, 2015 marked it as non-fiction-to-read
$6.42 for a 91-page essay is a little excessive, I think
Nick Fagerlund
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Huh, wow. I was kind of bracing for this to be some remedial Twitter Harassment 098 material, but it's definitely not that.

Jeong is reaching toward a grand unified theory of Unwanted Content, of which harassment is only one aspect. I don't think she's there yet. But she's the only person I've seen even start that project, so shout-out for that. Also, there was a lot of interesting history and case law in here that I wasn't aware of.
Akshay Anurag
Jun 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Another worthless book I read this week. The book starts by talking about some technical aspects of the junk present in modern day internet. The author points out some interesting points. So far so good. But once she starts talking about harassment of women on the internet, there's no stopping her. The book ends while all she talks about is women getting harassed on the internet. The title was "The Internet of garbage" for God's sake.
Justin Howe
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Long form essay that looks at the history of online abuse and possible ways to counter it. The take away for me was that while it very quickly became necessary to do something about spam/mass mailings during the internet's early development, the fact that most programmers weren't the target of harassment meant they never considered the problem and so efforts to do something about harassment now lag far behind and always seem inadequate because they're not built into the system.
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technology, computers
This is a short read, and a lot of it will not be new to people who have been following the issues around online harassment. But it's a good thorough summary of the issues for anyone who wants to catch up, and I thought there were two particular elements of the book that I thought were particularly valuable:
* First, Jeong makes the excellent point that harassing activity on the internet has two components: content and behavior. Most of our attempts to control harassment currently focus on conten
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For anyone looking for a copy, it has been pulled from stores by Forbes. From the author:
I haven't renewed my contract with Forbes -- currently considering putting out a second, updated edition

- via Twitter

EDIT: links to an new interim edition have been published on The Verge.
Sep 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
1/5 - Reads like a bad Wikipedia entry.

What essentially is a 10page lesson on how the internet works and 60 page cry about online harassment is the summation of Sarah Jeong's 2015 book 'The internet of garbage' (the name is suppossed to be a joke/play on the name 'The Internet of Things', which inself is a joke amongst the tech literate for being a seriously dumb down name for what it truely intales - clearly Sarah didnt pick up on this irony).
The main criticism i have towards this work, is the
Claire H
Well, this was a very mixed affair. I’m not sure it was so much a book as it was as an ambitious, dissertation-length news article. Anyway, the negatives first:

1) It’s badly proof-read, with at least a handful of infelicities, including missing words, awkward quasi-ungrammatical constructions, and so on.

2) It doesn’t seem very sure of its audience. At first it appears to be going for something close to satire, but then suddenly it’s a grim lecture, and then it jumps into an informal chat, and th
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Vital reading whether you're in tech, or a user of the internet. This book outlines the stakes, the context, and some ideas of where to go regarding harassment and other garbage on the internet. Super great, and manages to stay engaging and clear despite delving into complex legal issues. Loved this book.
David Gwilliam
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Concise and persuasive. None of this will be news to anyone who follows the conversation about women in tech, but Jeong's framework for addressing garbage, and especially harassment, online is illuminating.
Jeroen Nijs
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very good introduction to the subject of online harassment, and what to do about it.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this short book after the whole fiasco of Sarah Jeong's addition to the New York Times.

This book identifies what is more or less termed as Garbage on the Internet. Garbage is more or less defined here as SPAM, trolling, hate speech, doxing and harassment among other related actions. From this identification, there are real world examples presented of how such actions have been applied to individuals, mostly women, and how those actions were handled. The handling of such being ver
Oliver Terrones
Es un libro que toca debates sobre el internet que ponen en juego su misma "naturaleza" u "origen". Teoriza sobre el spam, esa información basura que de existir sin prohibición sería imposible 'navegar' por internet, la libertad de expresión, la apelación a la libertad de expresión para tolerar discursos de odio, el acoso digital, etc. Personalmente me ha parecido bien alarmante la cantidad de cyberacoso que reciben las mujeres por parte de los "gamers", jamás les habría pensado como un grupo vi ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great look at how the internet is largely "garbage" - unwanted content. Like how the stock market is 99% quants doing sub-millisecond trades, the internet is mostly garbage - spam, misinformation, trolling, harassment. Jeong focuses mostly on harassment because in 2015 it was the most relevant and least discussed kind of garbage (she'd be writing about misinformation if she revised it now).

Really good study of harassment online. She treats it as a content problem. Examines the history of anti-sp
Brian Palmer
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
Sarah Jeong is a knowledgeable journalist with a thorough grounding of the intersection of US law and the Internet. This book, then, is an unsurprisingly insightful look into harassment. Parts of it are likely to be familiar to most people who have been on the Internet a while; but important subtleties show up.

For example, one thing that many people worry about "harassment mobs" involves large crowds of people who briefly amplify attacks (often in very short lived but intense bursts, as illustra
Oliver Clarke
This was an easy read, with relatively complex ideas explained simply. It’s about online harassment and the way big (and small) internet companies deal with it. There are examples of actual cases and the impact of harassment on the individuals concerned. The reasons why harassment of women is more common than that of men is also discussed in detail.

As with any writing about the web, it feels slightly out of date already (a fact that author acknowledges in the foreword) but the content is intere
Yaseen Jabbar
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Note: This ebook is available for free at
The Internet is basically filled with content you don't want. Spam, shitposts, off topic posts.... Industries and armies of content teams have sprung up to deal with this. One of the most pressing of all garbage is harassment and hate speech, and which is given prominent depth in this book. Jeong, with her academic and professional credentials, knows what she's talking about and discusses such a heavy topic with ease of word and understandab
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and important read for our interconnected world.

A must read for anyone working in tech or digital industries. The Internet of Garbage outlines many of the problems that run rampant in our digital spaces and gives a clear framework for understanding the different types of abuse and unwanted content present on the web and how we can work towards a more equitable web for all of us.
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books-to-read
While slightly outdated for today, this book provides a good retrospective of the internet and harrassment up until around 2015. While it doesn't take into account political discourse as much as it should, it does a great job of highlighting personal attacks that have happened, specifically those targeted at women. At some point towards the end it does feel slightly repetitive and the overall style means it does have a tone akin to a college paper or thesis.
I thought this book was profoundly well written and informative. Jeong has categorized several instances of online harassment and abuse and looked at the reaction of moderators, web masters and law enforcement, then outlines some strategies for fixing the said problems. It is a short but vital book.

My only complaint would be the fact that it was only published digitally. This is a format that is inaccessible for many people, and I do believe that, at the very least, a small hard-copy run should
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I mean, I'm not sure this needs a rating; it's more longform journalism than book. But it's well worth the time if you care about what using the Internet is like.

And FWIW, three years later, things haven't gotten better. They've gotten worse. I'm off Twitter, and am seriously considering jettisoning FB.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The taxonomy of harassment is great and seems like it could really help refine moderation policies. The points equating harassment to spam are also well made. However, I question the author's willingness to rely of crowd sourced moderation techniques, which can and have been gamed by large scale harassment campaigns, and the focus on harassment of women lacked intersectional nuance at times; but perhaps these are thing the author plans to update in the upcoming new version.
Kim Z
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is a little dated, which the author acknowledges in the forward to the new edition, but Jeong's book still includes a lot of important, relevant points as well as key historical facts about harassment on the internet.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
(Did NOT read "kindle edition"; read epub of 2018 edition provied by Verge) Interesting, with lots of good points, mainly that there are structural ways to minimize the junk portion of the internet--and a real need to.
Cara M
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technoculture
i would happily have read a full-length book on this subject, expanding on the analysis of case law and the cited research, as well as more in depth discussion of the potential technical solutions.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An occasionally depressing but worthwhile look into spam and online harassment.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book is a quite good read about how much gargage we have in our internet. Garbage, had been, is, and always will be on the internet. This book covers as well actions can be taken by technology companies, to tackle garbage on the internet, from harrashments to hoaxes spreading throughout the internet like disease.
Taylor Barkley
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Short, informative, honest, and sober. A great book on current internet debates about harassment and online content moderation. Brevity got it the fifth star.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, nonfiction-ish
I'm looking forward to the expanded version. 👍
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XOXO Festival: Book Club: The Internet of Garbage ??? 7 33 Jul 27, 2015 07:36PM  
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  • The Servant Leader: How to Build a Creative Team, Develop Great Morale, and Improve Bottom-Line Performance
  • The Healthy Programmer
  • Responsible Responsive Design
  • Feminist Theory: A Reader
  • The Coming Swarm: DDOS Actions, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet
  • Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization
  • The Real World of Technology
  • Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future
  • Content Strategy for Mobile
  • Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness
  • Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking
  • What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know
  • Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee
  • Cybersexism: Sex, Gender and Power on the Internet
  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language
  • The Rise of the Naked Economy: How to Benefit from the Changing Workplace
  • Thinking with Data
Sarah Jeong is a journalist who was trained as a lawyer. She is a contributing editor at Vice Motherboard who writes about technology, policy, and law. She is the author of The Internet of Garbage, and has bylines at The Verge, Forbes, The Guardian, Slate, and WIRED. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2014. As a law student, she edited the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, and worked at t ...more
“Code is never neutral, and interfaces can signal all kinds of things to users.” 1 likes
“When we seek to build truly equal platforms and marketplaces of ideas fit for the 21st century, we are trying to create things that have never existed and cannot be constructed by mindlessly applying principles of the past.” 1 likes
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