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Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions That Shape Social Media

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  80 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A revealing and gripping investigation into how social media platforms police what we post online—and the large societal impact of these decisions

Most users want their Twitter feed, Facebook page, and YouTube comments to be free of harassment and porn. Whether faced with “fake news” or livestreamed violence, “content moderators”—who censor or promote user‑posted content—h
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Yale University Press
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Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I was eagerly awaiting the time when I could dig into this one as it covers a topic that is a major issue in these modern times. I am not a big social media user - I have a Facebook account that I barely use but I do use my Twitter account, mainly for bookish things such as posting reviews. I find the subject matter of the book intriguing, how exactly do we moderate information on social media without affecting freedom of speech? Is moderation just another form of censorship? These are questions ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book covering much about social media and would be really good for someone who doesn't know much at all about it already. I liked the information on content moderation. I also liked the fact that court cases and evidence were presented to back up some of the laws. I wish the information went a little deeper though overall. I did like the writing style and found the book easy to read and absorb. I don't read a lot of non-fiction so I appreciate that.

Thanks to Tarleton Gille
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Superbly written (academic) book on content moderation on platforms. Recommended for any media/comms scholar & student. ...more
Alexander Smith
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an excellent description of how content moderation happens, and how it functions (good and bad). It also offers a particular perspective that could not have been undertaken by anyone except someone working inside of a large technological institution like Microsoft. There is a lot of value that came out of this book with a lot of well informed opinions.

I did have a few critiques, largely these are things that Gillespie readily admits he is not expert in (having spoken with him at a confe
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bonus star for featuring me on pages 157-8.

This is a good overview of content moderation. There are many small case studies in how various platforms have learned to tackle content moderation and their individual solutions. It ends with a conclusion bringing up the discussion with the topic of fake news and how platforms are tackling how what is hosted on their sites can affect countries as a whole.

In some ways, this book is trying to do too much, but if you are looking for a breadth-focused disc
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
In this broad discussion, Custodians of the Internet is laying the groundwork for our emerging conversation about the role the platforms have played during the growth of the web as our dominant form of media, and the role we want these platforms to play in public discourse going forward. This is part of a larger discussion about not only moderation, harassment and free speech, but also data privacy, the gig economy, microtargeting, algorithmic bias, and more. The distribution of power and respon ...more
Jenny Domino
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A comprehensive, well-researched book on content moderation. I am not sure how useful his recommendations are in terms of workability (he admitted these practical limitations) but the book is still a very detailed overview on content moderation and how this is an essential (and not ancillary) job of what platforms do.

The book is also sometimes too wordy, especially the last two chapters. But I still learned a lot from it and would recommend.
Nate C
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gillespie gets right to the point and clearly understands the complexity of his subject.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent overview that puts the current controversies over content moderation into broader context.
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I guess I knew too much about this when I started reading. The beginning was interesting, the second part a little boring. However, if you have not read a lot on the topic, this is a good book
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Tarleton Gillespie is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research New England, part of the Social Media Collective research group. He is an affiliated associate professor at Cornell University, in the Department of Communication and the Department of Information Science. He cofounded the blog Culture Digitally.

He is the author of Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (MIT, 2007),

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