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Behind the Screen Reviews

Behind the Screen by Sarah T. Roberts

Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media

Sarah T. Roberts

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1 review

Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 6 Aug 2019
ISBN: 9780300235883

An eye-opening look at the invisible workers who protect us from seeing the worst of humanity on today's commercial internet

4 stars out of 5
18 Aug 2019


Roberts’s research confirms what scholars such as Tarleton Gillespie had suggested – that far from being a way for social media platforms to demonstrate their sense of social responsibility, content moderation is actually the critical part of their operations, for without it their brands would be irreparably damaged by what unsuspecting users would find in their feeds... A key question, which Roberts doesn’t really explore, is whether the moderation task is ultimately a futile, one, given the scale at which the platforms operate. Something like 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, for example... For us, one of the most striking messages of this remarkable book is that governments and regulators should be investigating the appalling working conditions under which much content moderation is done.