Content Moderation

From Weekly I/O#33

The nearly linear relationship between the spread of content and its monetary value motivates the creator to mix speed and extremism to optimize content creation.

Article: The Platform is the Message

This article from James Grimmelmann is the required reading for the course Tech, Media & Democracy at Cornell Tech. I like how this article argued "why responsible content moderation is necessary and why responsible content moderation is impossibly hard" in such a fascinating and captivating way. I highly recommend reading the full article. Below are some excerpts from the article with some revisions.

"In the age of social media, there's no need for spam to sell people something else once you have a bit of their attention. Their attention itself is the commodity; you can sell it back to the platform's ad engine and let someone else worry about how to make money off an ad running against Peppa Pig crying at the dentist."

"Is it necessary to report people doing stupid or ridiculous things like eating Tide Pods? The better question is whether to report on it now or risk waiting too long. Being early in the cascade as an idea goes viral gives you a chance to put your spin and your brand on it while being just a few links later dooms you to obscurity."

"An idea that motivates people to share it will thrive and spread. This is the basic insight of memetics, which is universally true since people could have and share ideas. Essentially, everyone who creates for the web has internalized the basics of optimizing what they make so that it will spread socially."

"Put virality, speed, extremism, monetization, and algorithmic recommendation together, and you have an optimized system for automated content creation."

"Logan Paul achieved YouTube superstardom by fashioning an identity based on pushing the bounds of taste; asking him to behave like a decent human being is like asking a terrier to calm down."

"We might be wondering why YouTubers like Logan Paul will post certain content or why Media websites like Fox will keep posting conspiracy theories. All of them do so in an intensely competitive media landscape driven by the dynamics of virality. If Logan Paul stops acting dumb and outré, his viewers will find some other young dude-bro who will. If Fox stops pushing deep state conspiracy theories, its viewers will switch to Breitbart."

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