Sarah T. Roberts to Speak on Commercial Content Moderation at Annenberg Innovation Lab

Expert on content moderation workforce to share perspectives on new standards in media ethics at conference at USC, Feb. 23.

Updated 02/13/18

Sarah T. Roberts, assistant professor at UCLA’s Department of Information Studies, will speak at the conference, “Controlling the Conversation: The Ethics of Social Platforms and Content Moderation,” to be presented by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University and  Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC on February 23. The event will feature academics, journalists, media executives and industry experts who will discuss the ethical challenges that traditional publishers and social platforms currently face in content moderation, including automation practices and which technological advances are going to place demands on the ethics of moderation. Professor Roberts will also take part in “Algorithms of oppression, algorithms of liberation: A conversation with Logic Magazine,” on Feb. 21 at USC’s Wallis Annenberg Hall.

Roberts, a renowned expert on commercial content moderation, will participate in a panel discussion on “Platforms and Publishers: In Search of New Standards in Media Ethics,” with Abhi Chaudhuri, product manager, Google; Jennifer Grygiel, assistant professor of communications at the University of Syracuse; Andrew Losowsky, project lead for The Coral Project; and Ashkan Soltani, independent researcher and technologist. The discussion will be moderated by Gabriel Kahn, professor, Professional Practice of Journalism at USC.

Since 2010, Roberts has been studying the effects of content moderation since 2010 when she was on a fellowship at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign that focused on the intersection of information, technology, society, media studies and sociology. She has been quoted throughout international print, broadcast, and online media on a myriad of issues surrounding the policing of social media including political censorship, the potential profit to be made by users of social media, and the psychological toll taken on CCM workers who view hours of objectionable content at a time. In December, Professor Roberts convened the symposium, “All Things in Moderation: The People, Practices and Politics of Online Content Review – Human and Machine,” at UCLA.

Professor Roberts appeared in and served as a consultant on a documentary titled, “The Cleaners,” which focuses on the nearly invisible global force of technology workers who monitor sites such as Facebook and YouTube and report objectionable and violent content. She recently spoke at the Sundance Film Festival with the film’s co-directors Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck at standing-only screenings of “The Cleaners.” (Read a Q&A with Professor Roberts in UCLA Newsroom)

“Controlling the Conversation” will take place at Wallis Annenberg Hall, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, 3630 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089. This event is presented by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the Annenberg Innovation Lab, and will be livestreamed on Facebook.

To attend “Controlling the Conversation,” or for more information, click here.


Above: Sarah T. Roberts, assistant professor of information studies, convened a symposium on the issues surrounding  commercial content moderation in December at UCLA.