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The Internet’s Reluctant Sheriffs: Content moderation and political gatekeeping through Internet infrastructure

With Corinne Cath-Speth, and Professor Gina Neff
16 Jun 2021
With Corinne Cath-Speth, and Professor Gina Neff

Below the visible aspects of social media and other Internet applications lies a vast infrastructure, where opaque companies and technologists exercise significant but rarely questioned power over the Internet. In this talk, recent OII-graduate Dr. Corinne Cath outlines some of the most pressing concerns regarding the role of these often opaque but crucial actors – The Internet’s reluctant sheriffs – as political gatekeepers and content moderators. Policy concerning Internet politics tends to focus on companies in the content business: social media companies, online retailers, and so on. But these companies would not function without the support of lower-layer infrastructure.

Dr. Cath draws from their PhD research, which included three years of ethnographic fieldwork, to examine how the architects and engineers of the Internet’s infrastructure, negotiate these roles to discuss with the OII community how to further shape a comprehensive research agenda on infrastructural accountability.

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