Sarita Schoenebeck is an Associate Professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. In fall 2021 she is a Visiting Professor at Yale Law School and affiliated with the Justice Collaboratory and the Information Society Project. Her research examines social and technical approaches to creating more safe and equitable experiences online. Sarita received her PhD in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech. She is the recipient of the NSF CAREER award, ACM CSCW and UMSI Service awards, and Best Paper and Honorable Mention awards at CHI and CSCW. Her research has been covered multiple times in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and elsewhere.

Talk: Reimagining Social Media Governance

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Abstract: Billions of posts flow through social media a day. However, harmful behavior is widespread, including sexual harassment, insults, hate speech, and doxxing. Social media platforms typically rely on punitive remedies for governance—removing content or banning users—but these are inadequate for governing a wide array of behaviors. Though punishment can be an effective mechanism for deterrence and safety, it can also be retributive and discriminatory. In this talk I will argue for justice frameworks that prioritize harm, accountability, and repair rather than punishment. My proposal is not to replace punitive remedies entirely, but to supplement them with a broader menu of options. I will lay out problems with existing approaches including moderating at the content level, binary algorithmic assessments, and criminal legal frameworks. I will then introduce alternative proposals to address those problems that take into account social, technical, and legal constraints.