DSA #1 The Expansion of Content Moderation

Tuesday 27 October 2020, 15:00 to 16:00

Over the last five years, public, advocacy, and policy concerns about content moderation and the power of social media platforms has expanded enormously. This is a good thing. But even as this attention has grown, the debates we’re having today are troublingly narrow – in their understanding of moderation, and of platforms.

Academic scholarship on content moderation can contribute to these increasingly urgent discussions, but it must treat moderation as a multi-faceted socio-technical phenomenon, functioning in many contexts and taking many forms. Prof. Gillespie is concerned by the narrowness of our understanding of the variety of moderation tactics, of which platforms we pose as examples and which harms we emphasize, and by our inability to recognize and account for moderation by other means.

In this seminar, Prof. Gillespie provides his take on the need to expand our understanding of content moderation and platforms in policy discussions.


Tarleton Gillespie is senior principal researcher at Microsoft Research and affiliated associate professor in the Department of Communication and Department of Information Science at Cornell University. His most recent book is Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media (Yale, 2018).

This seminar is organised as part of the Digital Services Act (DSA) in Perspective Series on online platform responsibility, organised by the Centre for Digitalisation, Democracy and Innovation (CD2I) at VUB-BSoG, in collaboration with the Chair 'Fundamental Rights and the Digital Transformation' at VUB-LSTS and the Brussels Privacy Hub. Please click here for more information on past and future events in the series.