The Dark Side of Spreadability

The Dark Side of Spreadability

Panel at #MIT

  1. Panelists: Kevin Driscoll Sam Ford Kate Miltner Whitney Phillips Respondent: Jonathan Zittrain Moderator: Chris Weaver
  2. .@csweaver opening the panel: “Everything has a context. You’re providing tools at the time of the electronic Wild West.” #mit8
  3. Spreadability is the context
  4. Spreadability “has a tendency to amplify the worst of us, just as it has a tendency to amplify the best of us.” @csweaver #mit8
  5. Depending on who’s posting and where they’re posting it, expectations are different. #MiT8
  6. Trolls believe that they have the right to engage in any behavior, wherever, whenever, simply because they can. #MiT8
  7. Other have an expectation that they can have a conversation free of trolling and personal attacks. #MiT8
  8. Where do our rights begin?
  9. .@csweaver: “Where do our rights begin?” @wphillips49: Context and content-dependent. Best approach is to start with case study. #mit8
  10. The way this clash plays out is both context and content dependent. Have to consider the sites of these clashes, norms, etc. #mit8
  11. .@katemiltner brings up the concept of potential harms—“people are really bad at imagining the potential downsides of their actions” #mit8
  12. .@katemiltner shares story of mom who posted photo of her kids on iPads. Got reddited and meme-ified. #mit8
  13. .@wphillips49: Many operate online under the philosophy of “If it’s on the Internet, it’s fair game.” #mit8
  14. There’s a difference between fan commentary on media texts meant to be consumed, and redditors editing a mom’s pic of her kids. #MiT8
  15. MT @l_e_s: So people don’t realize when they’re creating something spreadable & thus don’t consider what such visibility might mean… #mit8
  16. .@s2tephen @l_e_s Scalability is a property of the content is not a state of necessity: spreadability is a prop. of the connections #mit8
  17. @sam_ford: Everybody in a small town posting on is a public figure. #Mit8 @katemiltner asks: isn’t that true offline as well?
  18. Everyone’s public =/= everyone’s material is “fair game” — this is a good distinction. #MiT8
  19. Being public, living in public
  20. Seems like a distinction needs to be drawn here between being a “public figure” and the consequences of living in “public.” #mit8
  21. .@wphillips49: “self-policing assumes that the community isn’t part of the problem.” What if they’re on board w/ the behaviors? WAT DO #mit8
  22. Problem with community policing is that sometimes the community is on board with the problematic behaviors says @wphillips49 #mit8
  23. #mit8 I get nervous when we talk about policing the transforming an image; how do we decide what is the dark side? And who gets to decide?
  24. RT @elizabethapitts: Zittrain: if we bring in the law to regulate Internet rights, privacy, ethics, we’ve already lost #mit8
  25. if so, i’d rather it have remained dead .RT @danfaltesek: Is the meme the reinstantiation of wit? #MIT8
  26. .@katemiltner offers a caveat for Internet vigilantism: “Crowds are notoriously imprecise.” #mit8
  27. Reddit
  28. .@zittrain notes the distinction between intentional griefers and “good faith” vigilantism gone wrong (e.g. tweeting misinformation) #mit8
  29. “The only thing worse than leviathan is “let’s go get some pitchforks!”” – @zittrain #mit8
  30. #mit8 @zittrain can we reverse engineer mass inaccurate retweet journalism via massively spread redaction? #twitter
  31. Let’s talk about the actual owners of reddit. At what point do/can/must we hold them responsible? #MiT8
  32. Platform matters. Problematic on twitter =/= problematic on reddit. #MiT8
  33. Responsability
  34. Stuff that shows up on one site instantaneously shows up on other sites stripped of context and repurposed – @wphillips49 #mit8
  35. .@zittrain: even 10 yrs after post-Napster era it’s still unclear what responsibilities are for a site hosting problematic content. #mit8
  36. RT @s2tephen: .@zittrain: even 10 yrs after post-Napster era it’s still unclear what responsibilities are for a site hosting problematic co…
  37. RT @mrliterati: Centralized vs distributed responsibility… Responsibility vs agency? Classic problem of democracy #MIT8
  38. Civic class of the st century
  39. .@zittrain calls for a kind of “data genealogy,” which would encourage people to think twice before sharing content. #mit8
  40. @sam_ford: what does the civics class of c21 look like? Acts of circulation entail moral judgment and culpability. #MiT8
  41. .@kouredios 21st-c civics class should be: participatory; involving digital literacies; giving students agency to work toward change #MiT8
  42. First, we need to RESTORE civics classes, then we can talk about how the curriculum should be updated for a spreadable world. #mit8
  43. RT @vVvA: a good reason for why wikipedia needs to be inside schools: so youth can understand limitations and affordances of spreadabilit…
  44. Spreadability is the design
  45. .@katemiltner makes ace point that platforms are DESIGNED to encourage mass spreadability. It’s architecture and business model. #mit8
  46. @katemiltner talks about the technological agency of the platforms. I would add: and their interfaces which are not transparent #MIT8
  47. .@wphillips49 platforms encourage spreadability so users can accrue social capital or some commercial asset #MIT8 excellent point
  48. .@wphillips49: SNS incentivize problematic spreadability as a way to accrue economic/social capital. How to establish ethics within? #mit8
  49. Metrics
  50. MT@s2tephen: just looking at metrics (e.g. Klout) only tells half the storyspreadability automatically assumed positive -@katemiltner #mit8
  51. Klout = “How ‘spready’ are you?” #MiT8
  52. Sometimes it’s ok to just not read what’s been said about you. We can learn this from celebrities says Kristine Busse. #mit8
  53. Metrics can only tell you so much: “No one’s talking about this”? Again, depends on context and platform. Industry, maybe. #MiT8

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