the internet of garbage - sarah jeong

a short book about an important topic!

my key takeaways — there was plenty of other good stuff but here's what I resonated with:

  1. two kinds of garbage: spam and harassment. business spam used to be as much of a free speech concern as harassment is today!

  2. harassment is more about behavior than content. this framing also shapes how anti-harassment tools can be built (esp when so much discussion is about algorithms missing context or cultural nuances in "hate speech")

  3. there are technical ways to discourage harassing behavior without bans, such as adding friction to mass-mailing, doxxing, and other common behaviors.

  4. garbage makes the internet unusable and blocks healthy speech. free speech is important, and content moderation done carefully, but there's no way to truly enable all speech.

i did have some disagreements with jeong. for example, i dislike framing tech giants as public utilities, because they remain unaccountable and non-transparent. rather than trying to regulate them as utilities, i'm more interested in modes for incentivizing competition. she says social networks remain a natural monopoly, but i'm not sure - e.g. signal vs. whatsapp vs. wechat vs. line. but i'm trying to rate books more in context of how additive they are to my existing frameworks/understanding, and i really appreciated this one in the context of recent deplatforming debates.

(jan 17, 2021)

To reply you need to sign in.