[SIGCIS-Members] CCM and Hidden Digital Labor

Sarah T. Roberts sarah.roberts at ucla.edu
Wed Apr 5 04:32:54 PDT 2017

Thanks so much for this (incredibly generous) plug; I certainly appreciate my work being shared among the SIGCIS membership, whose own contributions are so influential to me. 

I should state that I am careful to contextualize CCM in a long lineage of various types of moderation that have gone on since the dawn of social computing on the internet and on other networks. Whether practices were draconian, unforgiving and concentrated in the hands of the few or anarchic, decentralized and hands off, the policies and philosophies that made up the rules of engagement on such sites can be directly tied to the large-scale, globalized and for-pay labor that goes on today. 

Thank you for the share. 



S a r a h  T.  R o b e r t s,  P h. D.

Assistant Professor
University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Information Studies
Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

Blogging periodically at

> On Apr 4, 2017, at 8:33 PM, M. Hicks <mhicks1 at iit.edu> wrote:
> 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."
> https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/518796/
> Best,
> Marie 
> ______________________
> 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)
> www.programmedinequality.com
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