The Economic Underpinnings of Issues in Content Moderation

May 11, 2022, 2:30 PM - 3:15 PM


The Heldrich Hotel & Conference Center

10 Livingston Avenue

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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Amy Bruckman, Georgia Institute of Technology

In Larry Lessig’s 2000 book Code, he identifies four factors that regulate behavior: the law, social norms, architecture, and the market.  The significance of the factor of the market is often underappreciated.  Market forces are important to internet content in two distinct senses: the cost of moderation, and the financial pressures that steer corporate decision making. First, with enough resources, perfect moderation is possible.  With realistic resources, the task is challenging. These factors shape the forms that content moderation and internet content take in a fundamental way. Second, I’ll argue that publicly traded internet platforms driven to maximize shareholder value are unlikely to do the right thing for either individuals or communities.  Consequently, we need more non-profit social media driven by values.



Amy Bruckman is Regents’ Professor and Senior Associate Chair in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on social computing, with interests in online collaboration, understanding across difference, and online moderation. Bruckman received her Ph.D. from the MIT Media Lab in 1997, and a B.A. in physics from Harvard University in 1987. She is a Fellow of The ACM and a member of the SIGCHI Academy.