Reimagining Social Media Governance: Harm, Accountability, and Repair
22 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2021 Last revised: 28 Oct 2022
Date Written: July 29, 2021
Despite a rich history of scholarship on the governance of online spaces, social media platforms continue to both cause and facilitate harm. Many of the problems that manifest on social media are amplifications of enduring social inequities; however, this does not absolve social media companies from the responsibility to recognize and repair the harms they enable. Current social media governance approaches largely focus on removing individual content and accounts that violate platform policies, but they overlook the individuals and communities who experience harm. This is at best an oversight, and at worst, an extension of Western criminal justice systems that prioritize retribution over structural change via accountability and repair. Drawing from justice theories, we propose several key shifts for social media governance to better recognize and repair harm.
Keywords: social media, online, harassment, abuse, governance, regulation, criminal justice, restorative justice
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