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Do We Really Want Sanitized Platforms?

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When it comes to content moderation and the regulation of harmful content on social media, there are various metaphors at play for how to think about doing it. One that we’ve explored on this podcast in the past is to see it as a form of administration, or what legal scholar evelyn douek calls the “rough online analogue of offline judicial adjudication of speech rights, with legislative-style substantive rules being applied over and over again to individual pieces of content by a hierarchical bureaucracy of moderators.” 

But some scholars, like douek, see limitations in this way of thinking. That includes Rachel Griffin, a PhD candidate and lecturer at Sciences Po Law School who recently published a new paper in the Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and E-Commerce Law titled “The Sanitised Platform.” The paper employs thinking from feminist legal scholar Vicki Schultz about US law on sexual harassment in the workplace as a framework to critique approaches to content moderation and social media regulation.