My book Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media is now available for pre-order from Yale University Press!

Sarah T. Roberts, Powell Library, UCLA June 2018

About Sarah

Sarah T. Roberts is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Studies (Graduate School of Education & Information Studies) at UCLA. She holds a Ph.D. from the iSchool at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining UCLA in 2016, she was an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University in London, Ontario for three years. On the internet since 1993, she was previously an information technology professional for 15 years, and, as such, her research interests focus on information work and workers and on the social, economic and political impact of the widespread adoption of the internet in everyday life.

Professor Roberts is internationally recognized as a leading scholar on the emerging topic of commercial content moderation of social media (or CCM, for short) a term she coined to define the field study around the large-scale, industrial and for-pay practice of social media user-generated content adjudication. In December of 2017 she hosted All Things in Moderation on the UCLA campus, a first-of-its-kind conference to bring researchers, civil society advocates, workers, journalists and industry representatives together to discuss issues pertaining to social media moderation. Her book on commercial content moderation, entitled Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media, is forthcoming in 2019 from Yale University Press.

From The Cleaners, 2018

She served as consultant to and is featured in the award-winning documentary, The Cleaners, which debuted at Sundance 2018 and airs on PBS in the United States in November 2018.

Roberts is frequently consulted by the press and others on issues related to social media, society and culture. She has been interviewed on these topics in print, on radio and on television worldwide including: The New York Times, Associated Press, Le Monde, The Economist, the BBC, the CBC, The Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, Wired, The Washington Post, News Corp Australia, Asahi Shimbun, and CNN, among others. Dr. Roberts was recently elected to the board of IEEE Annals of the History of Computing.

She is a 2018 Carnegie Fellow and a 2018 recipient of the EFF Barlow Pioneer Award for her groundbreaking research on content moderation of social media.

About the Illusion of Volition

Simpler times.

Periodically attended to since 2009, this site is primarily focused, as is its author, on discussions and dissections of notions of information in society, and its attendant sociocultural, economic and ethical implications, as well as the political economy of digital information, information labor, the internet, and popular media. Also under discussion are issues of digital (in)equities, internet culture, internet policy, the nature of digital information, information transmission and dissemination, information as commodity/currency, gaming, histories of computing and technology, and internet policy. A few odds and ends may be thrown in the mix!

The site also serves as a repository for related  important information and links to publications, media appearances, contact information, and other resources. Other writings are often works in progress, the beginnings (or continuations) of dialogs with others, and are likely not a final word or definitive thought on the topics they address, so please do regard them in that light. And, of course, all opinions expressed herein should be considered solely the opinion of the author and not of any institutions or individuals with which the author has been associated in the past, present or future, unless otherwise directly stated. Drop in and say hello.  Welcome.

–STR, November 2018

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