[SIGCIS-Members] CCM and Hidden Digital Labor

M. Hicks mhicks1 at iit.edu
Tue Apr 4 11:33:58 PDT 2017

Hi all,

I wanted to make sure everyone had seen Sarah Roberts's piece in the Atlantic on fake news, CCM, and the hidden labor that we often assume is algorithmic rather than human. Sarah is a longtime member whose work has consistently challenged the Silicon Valley narrative of seamless automation. Sarah in fact coined the term CCM, and is literally "writing the book on it." You may have met or seen her recently at our meeting at the Computer History Museum (Command Lines, #SIGCIS2017).

I teach a course on the history of digital labor and Sarah's work never fails to amaze my students. I figure this up-to-the-minute encapsulation of her work might be useful to folks who teach similar courses. 

Here's an excerpt from her article, and a link below:
"Missing from this evolving self portrayal [of social media websites], however, has been significant mention of a distinct kind of editorial practice that Facebook and most other prominent social-media platforms are involved in. Thus far, much of the post-election discussion of social-media companies has focused on algorithms and automated mechanisms that are often assumed to undergird most content-dissemination processes online. But algorithms are not the whole story. In fact, there is a profound human aspect to this work. I call it commercial content moderation, or CCM."


Marie Hicks, Ph.D.
Asst. Professor, History of Technology
Illinois Institute of Technology
Chicago, IL USA
mhicks1 at iit.edu | mariehicks.net | @histoftech
Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing (MIT Press, 2017)

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