Localizing content moderation in Facebook groups

Pleased to share this short paper written with Scott Rodgers et al. The paper is discussed in an excellent presentation by Liam McLoughlin:

Abstract. This paper contributes to the burgeoning literature on content moderation by focusing on its practice in relation to localized social media contexts, an area which remains under-researched. It makes two key contributions. Firstly, it presents the results of a study on moderation practices in relation to place-named Facebook groups across Greater London. Drawing on in-depth interviews with administrators and moderators from 16 Facebook groups, we focus on exploring how such administrators and moderators negotiate an apparent ‘orientational’ tension between ‘translocality’ and ‘locality’. On the one hand, we explore how administrators and moderators oriented partly to what might be understood as the ‘translocal’ space of Facebook as a platform. On the other hand, we also sought to understand how such administrators and moderators orient to the localised situation surrounding the place-named Facebook group. Our second key contribution aligns with the conference theme on co-dependence and social media, outlining a conceptual approach for researching the geographical contexts or ‘place’ of content moderation more broadly. We emphasize the inherent, practical locality of content moderation. Drawing on a long tradition of relational approaches in human geography, cultural anthropology and philosophy, we conceptualize ‘locality’ as something produced through practical action, rather being pre-given, specific geographical locations. Approaching the place or context of content moderation relationally, rather than via geographical scales such as local or global, might not only provide a more context sensitive approach, but also, underline the limits of large-scale moderation, whether by platforms or governments, or through human or algorithmic interventions.

Reference. Rodgers, S., McLoughlin, L., Ballatore, A., & Moore, S. (2021). LOCALIZING CONTENT MODERATION: APPROACHING THE ORIENTATIONAL SPACES OF FACEBOOK GROUP ADMINS AND MODS. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12236 [web]