“The Danger of Invisible Actors in the Facebook User Community”
Course: IS 212 – Values and Communities in Information Professions (Spring 2018)
Justification: In Spring 2018, I took IS 212 “Values and Communities in Information Professions” with Professor Ramesh Srinivasan and Special Reader Joyce Gabiola. Per the course syllabus, this course was a “forum to discuss, understand, and critique value systems and power structures embedded in information and work in diverse societies. Exploration of importance of thinking locally, from grassroots, in design, evaluation, and engagement with information institutions and technologies, ranging from archives and libraries to Internet”. In this course, I especially enjoyed learning about the values of digital online communities.
The course’s final assignment was to write a paper worth 40% of our grade with the prompt:
This course is surveying a significant body of literature that considers questions of ethics, values, cultures, communities, and societies in relation to the information institutions, systems, and technologies of our world. For your final paper for this course, we would like for you to do one of the following: (a) develop an argument around some of these themes in relation to one another using material from within the readings themselves, or (b) pick an example or case that you would like to briefly introduce and examine it relative to a thesis that is systematically argued and defended relative to course readings and concepts.
I chose Option B to “pick an example or case that you would like to briefly introduce and examine it relative to a thesis that is systematically argued and defended relative to course readings and concepts.” I chose this topic because I wanted to examine the values and community actors within the Facebook online community, which I have been a member of for half of my life. Below you can find an abstract and a link to the full text of the paper, which is titled “The Danger of Invisible Actors in the Facebook User Community”.
I felt it important to include this paper in my portfolio as it explores my scholarship about digital online communities in a new light by examining the values of these online communities and the invisible actors that may threaten them.
Abstract: In this paper, the argument will be made that there is a dire need to take action now to demand that Facebook be more transparent with its policies and processes regarding content review in order to ensure that people are aware of these invisible biased actors lurking in their Facebook user community and of the danger that these invisible actors present to changing the Facebook user community’s values to align with the companies’ political values. I will also demonstrate that there are potential solutions that the Facebook user community, the Facebook company, and the government, can take to lessen the biases inherent in the current Facebook content review process and to rebuild the Facebook user community’s trust in Facebook as an information hub.