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« Moderating the Fediverse: Content Moderation on Distributed Social Media (remote)

Moderating the Fediverse: Content Moderation on Distributed Social Media (remote)

May 12, 2022, 3:30 PM - 4:15 PM


The Heldrich Hotel & Conference Center

10 Livingston Avenue

New Brunswick, NJ 08901


Click here for map.

Alan Rozenshtein, University of Minnesota

Current approaches to content moderation all assume the continuing existence of “walled gardens”: social media platforms that control who can use their services and how. But this closed architecture may be the very thing that is causing our content moderation challenges. The "Fediverse"---the emerging ecosystem of decentralized protocols like ActivityPub and its associated social media applications---offers an alternative to the status quo. This project describes the Fediverse and how it works, focusing on the contrast between open and closed protocols. It uses Mastodon, the decentralized Twitter alternative, as a case study to demonstrate how content moderation operates in the absence of a single centralized authority.



Alan Z. Rozenshtein is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, a senior editor at Lawfare, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a co-organizer of the Cybersecurity Law and Policy Scholars Conference and the Law and Technology Workshop. Previously, he served as an Attorney Advisor with the Office of Law and Policy in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.