AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir <p>Selected Papers of Internet Research (SPIR) is the open access online collection of papers presented at the annual international conferences of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR).</p> Association of Internet Researchers en-US AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2162-3317 ‘PLEASE READ THE COMMENTS’: COMMENTING CULTURES ACROSS PLATFORMS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11109 <p>An old adage about the internet goes “Don’t Read The Comments”. It is a cynical word of caution from supposedly more experienced and savvy internet users, against a slew of negative, abusive, and unhelpful comments that are usually rampant online, stemming from trolling behaviour (Phillips 2015). “Don’t Read The Comments” has become an internet meme. Alongside parody websites (i.e. @AvoidComments n.d.), trawling through the comments section in search of ludicrosity has become an internet genre in and of itself. This comprises the likes of meme factory ‘The Straits Times Comment Section’ which collates absurd comments from users on a specific newspaper’s Facebook page (STcomments n.d.), as well as internet celebrity troll commentators like ‘American Ken’ M (Know Your Meme n.d.) and Singaporean ‘Peter Tan’ (Yeoh 2018), who post comments on a network of social media and fora in stealthily satirical ways that have even been co-opted for advertorials (Vox 2016). Such vernacular practice has in turn provoked a counter-genre of memes known as “I’m just Here For The Comments” (Tenor n.d.), in which users closely follow social media posts mainly for the resulting discussion and engagement in the comments section rather than the actual post itself. It is on this point of departure that this panel turns its focus to commenting cultures across platforms.</p> Crystal Abidin Emily van der Nagel Amelia Johns Francesco Bailo Aleesha Rodriguez Bondy Valdovinos-Kaye Patrik Wikstrom Ysabel Gerrard Tama Leaver Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11109 TAMING PLATFORM CAPITALISM: STRUGGLES FROM THE GLOBAL SOUTH MEET STRUGGLES FROM THE GLOBAL NORTH https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11111 <p>This&nbsp;panel brings together scholars whose work seeks to tame platform capitalism understanding how the lives of platform workers are affected by digital platforms. Research on platform labor has been mostly done in the global north, as well as in relation to global platforms like Uber or Amazon (Rosenblat 2019; Scholz 2016). Thus, the panelists, moreover, explore how the lives of platform workers can be improved within the global platform economy by analyzing workers’ subjectivities in relation to platforms and the impact of technologies in job quality. To achieve this, this panel brings together scholars from global north and south countries that will map the complexities and subjectivities of platform workers in order to tame platform capitalism. We present a set of articles that address: (1) regulatory resistance that clarifies and redefines the rules that platforms need to abide by; (2) bottom-up resistance of platform workers who seek to organize, subvert, and build alternatives; (3) the ways that action research can support either of those initiatives to ultimately tame some of the worst excesses of platform capitalism.</p> Arturo Arriagada Mark Graham Ursula Huws Janaki Srinivasan Macarena Bonhomme Pradyumna Taduri Funda Ustek-Spilda Fabian Ferrari Alessio Bertolini Adam Badger Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11111 OLDER PEOPLE'S DIGITAL LIVES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11112 <p>Drawing from a conceptual framework that problematises and redefines the digital lives of older people aged 65 years and over, this panel explores how older people engage with digital communication tools and skills, and the way this plays out in their everyday lives. Each paper situates older people as experiencing a rich social life integrated with digital technologies and understood in terms of multi-faceted disparities in internet use, skills and modes of digital participation. How older people’s digital lives are negotiated and developed, and the particular frustrations and barriers to their digital participation, are situated as particular to their cultural context for use of communication tools. This panel thus contributes new understanding of how older people’s digital lives are emerging, moving away from simplistic descriptions of skills, to the multi-faceted and complex negotiations occurring when older people make decisions about connecting with digital tools.</p> Diana Bossio Anette Grønning Earvin Cabalquinto Esther Milne Max Schleser Anthony McCosker Kath Albury Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11112 THE INTERNET IS TRASH: MAKING SENSE OF TOXIC NETWORKS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11113 <p>This panel brings together scholars studying distinct aspects of internet culture in order to make sense of the negative byproducts of online spaces. Each presenter takes on a different topic: political internet memes, fan subcultures, conscious disconnection from internet platforms, and physical digital waste to consider the consequences of internet life. Using distinct methodologies: case study interviews, ethnography, textual studies and histories, and autoethnography, this panel considers what internet scholars can learn from the unsavory parts of the internet. Working with notions of internet waste, these presentations serve to build out a broad set of perspectives about the potential value in the trash internet, what we can learn from it, and how we can think more deeply about that which has little value or consideration in the internet life of clicks, posts, shares, likes, and follows. Through these presentations, the speakers ask the audience to consider their own views of internet garbage and to think about remedies to the toxic ecologies that impact life - both virtual and literal.</p> Amber M. Buck Cindy Tekobbe Dustin Edwards Estee Beck Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11113 STUDYING YOUTH ONLINE POLITICAL EXPRESSION: EMPIRICAL FINDINGS AND METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11114 <p>We are living through a highly politicized time, with deep divisions foregrounding the significance and importance of political expression and dialogue. Youth have been at the forefront of these important conversations, in both academic research and in the popular press. On the one hand, we are seeing a resurgence of activism and engagement among youth (Bond, Chenoweth &amp; Pressman 2018; Deal 2019), who are using online platforms to express themselves politically in rich and creative ways (Graef 2016; Jenkins et al., 2016). On the other hand, deep concerns have emerged about “some of the darker sides of networked media engagement” (boyd, 2017, n.p.), including the spread of misinformation, increased polarization and politically motivated bullying among youth (Rogers, 2017). If we see youth as active agents in their own political socialization (Youniss, McLellan &amp; Yates, 1997), the ways they actively express and negotiate their civic identities online (Jenkins et al., 2016) offer rich possibilities for understanding how we can best support them as civic actors. The research presented in this panel aims to move beyond a simplified depiction of youth as either idealized political role models (e.g. Greta Thunberg or the Parkland Youth) or, conversely, as apathetic and politically disengaged. In light of the conference theme exploring what it means to have a Life mediated by the internet, we place emergent and senior scholars studying youth and online political expression in dialogue with one another to discuss both findings and particular considerations brought up by internet research (franzke et al., 2020), and especially internet research involving youth (Livingstone &amp; Third, 2017). By encouraging researchers and audience members to reflect on the epistemological, ethical, and practical aspects of their own research, we aim to identify new questions for further study as we seek to understand the evolution of youth and online political expression. The first presentation reviews findings from a cross-platform study utilizing a mixed methods approach to explore youth online political expression and cross-cutting political talk on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. These presenters discuss their findings in relation to the challenges and opportunities they encountered when identifying and analyzing youth-generated cross-platform data. The second presentation highlights findings from a social discourse analysis of Twitter and Reddit threads on youth-centric issues of immigration (DACA) and environmental issues (plastic pollution) to identify how the intersection of issue, platform and aims of discourse shape the characteristics of online civic discourse. This presenter discusses the challenges she encountered when creating both a codebook and coding scheme for data analysis. The third presentation considers the role of gender and intersectional identity in online humorous political expression through a case study of a U.S. Black Muslim teen’s TikTok posts. This presenter discusses the challenges of placing critical technocultural discourse analysis into dialogue with digital media literacy and youth participatory action research endeavors. The fourth presentation highlights findings emerging from a series of ethnographic interviews with young people in a comparative study exploring online youth political expression in democratic and non-democratic contexts. This presenter discusses challenges of qualitative research when working with young people, especially marginalized youth, who utilize hidden forms of expression to engage in politics. Finally, our respondent will invite audience members into the discussion by offering a reflection on the four presentations and asking session attendees to comment on their own research experiences and larger implications they see for the study of youth political expression online.</p> Lynn Schofield Clark Ioana Literat Neta Kligler-Vilenchik Ashley Lee Ellen Middaugh Adrienne Russell Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11114 AGEING WITH SMARTPHONES ‘FROM BELOW’: INSIGHTS FROM JAPAN, UGANDA, AL-QUDS AND IRELAND https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11115 <p>AGEING WITH SMARTPHONES ‘FROM BELOW’: INSIGHTS FROM JAPAN, UGANDA, AL-QUDS AND IRELAND This session examines new ways to theorize the smartphone, based on a comparative study of smartphone use amongst older people in four different fieldsites for a period of 16 months ethnographic fieldwork. Along with gender, age is one of the primary parameters by which societies throughout history have structured and governed themselves (Spencer, 1990). Since the 1960s, however, we have lived with an unprecedented modern consciousness that has presented an increasingly powerful challenge to this hegemonic principle by placing a high value on youth culture (Hodkinson, 1999). As a result, there is a new uncertainty about the meaning of age (Degnen, 2007). In addition, age has also extended class discrepancies, as those around the world between the ages of 45–70 have become a class that has settled its children and can now capitalize upon the new choices of consumer culture (Blaikie, 1999). Yet, these ageing populations increasingly face problems of loneliness linked to a loss of authority of seniority (Hazan, 1994), though this may be alleviated by contact through digital devices and networked platforms, mainly smartphones. Focusing on populations in their sixties, seventies and eighties is one of the panel’s major contributions, as mostly up until now smartphones have been associated with the idea of a youth technology and many of their attributes associated with that age group (Jenkins et al., 2016). Hence, we wish to release the smartphone from its earlier connections, allowing us to theorise it more broadly as part of the life of ‘non-digital natives’. The four papers in the panel show how understanding smartphones is more than simply addressing the culture of ‘apps’ or the ‘culture of connectivity’. Rather, the smartphone presents an ecology of digitization tailored to the specific configurations of the individual user which is best understood through the ethnographic method of holistic contextualization. This approach links smartphone usage with all aspects of offline life and creates a role for digital anthropologists who are well placed to tackle fundamental questions about smartphones because they can gain access to this intimate and mainly private configuration and processes of personalization within their social and cultural contexts. Using Pype’s (2019) concept of `smart from below’ we provide illustrations showing how it is the users who actually create smartphones. To follow normative contemporary theory, this would require situating our findings in relation to established theoretical debates about new communications media. The nuance given by comparing four fieldsites with a vast variety of smartphone usage ties us to the initial context of difference and comparison, thus providing novel conceptualizations of the smartphone. These include concepts such as ‘screen ecology’, ‘the transportal home’, ‘beyond anthropomorphism’, ‘social ecology’, ‘perpetual opportunism’, ‘contradiction and ambivalence’, ‘the control hub’, ‘multifaceted connectivity’ and others. Each of these may help us to visualise, understand, and explain what people do with their smartphones and why. But where this subsumes Uganda, al-Quds, alongside Japan and Ireland there is a danger of creating neo-imperial homogenisations based on citing de-contextualised critiques. Our panel strives to describes an alternative path that could allow for theoretical development of the contemporary smartphone, while avoiding these betrayals of either substance or original insight. Three papers provide more extended examples of what we have achieved ‘the transportal home’ through fieldwork in Japan, ‘care transcending distance’ through fieldwork in Uganda, and we explore ‘contradiction, ambivalence and multifaceted connectivity’ though fieldwork in al-Quds. The fourth paper is more theoretical, aiming to link between the presented ethnographies and exemplify the grounding of theory of the smartphone. We hope that our panel will encourage global discussion of the role of the smartphones in the everyday lives of individuals from all age groups, not just the young. Such an expansion would allow for a deeper understanding of this device which, as we demonstrate, is so central to many people’s experience of social life, home, and care. References Blaikie, A. (1999). Ageing and popular culture. Cambridge University Press. Degnen, C. (2007). Minding the gap: The construction of old age and oldness amongst peers. Journal of Aging Studies, 21(1), 69-80.‏ Hazan, H., &amp; Ḥazzān, Ḥ. (1994). Old age: Constructions and deconstructions. Cambridge University Press. Hodkinson, P., &amp; Bennett, A. (Eds.). (2013). Ageing and youth cultures: Music, style and identity. A&amp;C Black.‏ Jenkins, H., Shresthova, S., Gamber-Thompson, L., Kligler-Vilenchik, N., &amp; Zimmerman, A. (2018). By any media necessary: The new youth activism (Vol. 3). NYU Press. Pype, K. (2017). Smartness from below: variations on technology and creativity in contemporary Kinshasa. What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean from Africa, 97-115. Spencer, P. (1990). Anthropology and the Riddle of the Sphinx: Paradoxes of Change in the Life Course. Routledge.‏</p> Maya de Vries Kedem Laura Haapio-Kirk Charlotte Hawkins Daniel Miller Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11115 THE DYNAMICS OF DIGITAL CAPTURE: HOW INDUSTRIES TIE AUDIENCES TO EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11116 <p>Few studies examine “digital capture,” forces that get people to adopt digital technologies which, on balance, benefit organizations more than the publics. Using various perspectives on this topic, the panel will explore the ways four industries are rolling out digital technologies that have captured audiences in long-term relationships. One paper will use a “digital colonialization” perspective (Ricaurte, 2019) that highlights the influence of capitalist imperialism within contemporary political economy. A second paper demonstrates how network effects fueled adoption of the Common Application laying the groundwork for higher education marketing that fetishizes customer relationship marketing (CRM) technologies to the point of constructing teenage college prospects as sales leads and “yields.” A third presentation explores how companies seduce people to use smart devices that can infer information about the ways they talk and sound while the companies play down the surveillance aspects of the technologies, ultimately eroding their freedom to make choices under the guise of giving them new ways to choose. The fourth contribution presents the growing convergence between emerging technologies and the health sector from the perspective of political economy, demonstrating through case studies how audiences are captured through ambiguous framings that highlight the advantages of health information sharing, but obscure the exploitative nature of pervasive data collection and its use for commercial purposes. Together, the panel points to research needed to understand the emergence of various surveillance regimes before they become taken-for-granted parts of the cultural landscape when changes to them can be made mainly at their margins.</p> Mara Einstein ShinJoung Yeo Joseph Turow Anna Jobin Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11116 THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL RESEARCH ETHICS: THREE CASES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11117 <p>AoIR and the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society (JICES) share common interests in critical reflection on the ethical and social dimensions of the internet and internet-facilitated communication, and have begun a collaboration aimed at collecting ethically-focused AoIR conference submissions for presentation and critique at AoIR, with a view towards subsequent publication in a special issue of JICES. This panel collects three papers that address these shared interests as specifically focused on research ethics. Paper 1, Integrating Mobile Eye-Tracking in a Mixed Methods Research Design: Ethical Standards and Practical Requirements, addresses the social and data ethical dimensions of the increasing use of Augmented Reality (AR) technologies in public spaces. Paper 2, The complex balancing act of researchers’ ethical and emotional capacities and responsibilities, takes up these issues from the first-hand experience of a researcher-participant who, as a bereaved parent, was requested to research a closed community for bereaved parents on Facebook. The wide range of ethical challenges here includes informed consent as distinctively difficult in these contexts. Paper 3, Digital Ethics and the Situationist Challenge to Virtue Ethics, evaluates recent applications of virtue ethics in digital media, arguing instead for a pragmatist, situation-based approach. These three papers thus expand AoIR’s signature focus on Internet Research Ethics through two empirically-oriented papers on research ethics/methods in two specific contexts, complimented by a more theoretical exploration of virtue ethics and pragmatism – and thereby dovetail with JICES’ interests in the ethics and social dimensions of ICTS.</p> Charles Ess aline shakti franzke Katja Kaufmann Marjo Rauhala Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes Martin Rutzinger Tabea Bork-Hüffer Ylva Hård af Segerstad Bastiaan Vanacker Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11117 LEGAL AND ETHICAL PERSPECTIVES ON (BIG) DATA, PLATFORMS, AI AND ALGORITHMS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11118 <p>AoIR and the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society (JICES) share common interests in critical reflection on the ethical and social dimensions of the internet and internet-facilitated communication, and have begun a collaboration aimed at collecting ethically-focused AoIR conference submissions for presentation and critique at AoIR, with a view towards subsequent publication in a special issue of JICES. This panel collects four papers exploring especially the legal and ethical dimensions of new technologies, including data collection and storage as public goods vis-à-vis central questions of justice (Paper 1, Towards a Political Theory of Data Justice: A Public Good Perspective); critiques from Western and non-Western positions of the utilitarianism otherwise driving the platforms’ business models and rationales (Paper 2, Google and Facebook VS Rawls and Lao-Tsu: How Silicon Valley’s utilitarianism and Confucianism are bad for Internet ethics); basic tensions between the rule of law vis-à-vis algorithmic “decision-making” processes in jurisprudence and “surveillance capitalism” (Paper 3, The Jurisprudence of Datafied Law); and a taxonomy of the ethics of AI, algorithms and big data based on an analysis of 90 guidelines from 2017-2020 (Paper 4, A systematic literature Review of ethical Code of Conducts in the field of Internet Research). These papers directly take up the central interests shared between AoIR and JICES in the ethical and social dimensions of the internet and internet-facilitated communication. They offer new insight on legal and ethical aspects of contemporary technologies, some of which will have specific implications for internet research ethics.</p> Charles Ess aline shakti franzke Chi Kwok Ngai Keung Chan Morten Bay Dan Burk Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11118 RE-VALUING PLATFORMS, RECLAIMING THE LOCAL https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11119 <p>This panel brings together emerging scholarship that challenges the contemporary hold of major platforms over public and private life. It critically questions the scope, valence, and embeddedness of platforms in the everyday, challenging (commercial) platformization as the new normal. We attempt to offer new ways of managing, changing and co-opting platforms for the benefit of end-users rather than proprietors only. To this end, the panel discusses and debates 'non-market' approaches to tackling social and environmental effects of platforms. It is designed to build on recent work within infrastructure, platform and critical data studies to suggest alternative approaches to the neoliberal ordering of economic life. A central question is whether the data streams monetized by “big tech” can be harnessed for public, democratic, or socialist ends; in doing so, bringing them 'in house' and into competition with big tech itself. In other words, the panel takes a “protocological” (Galloway 2004) resistance approach, in appropriating the methods of algorithmic- and data-governance occurring under platformization, and utilising them at the regional (state) or (hyper-)local (city, city block) level. Moreover, it seeks to highlight examples of successful community-based and cooperative instances of platformization. Looking at the seemingly ruthless efficiency of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft (GAFAM) in the extraction of value through digital means, the panellists ask: what would resistance look like if we use the economic and infrastructural strategies levied against us? $2 Galloway, A. R. (2004). Protocol: How control exists after decentralization. MIT press.</p> Alex Gekker Sam Hind Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11119 A GOOD LIFE? CRITICAL FEMINIST APPROACHES TO INFLUENCER ECOLOGIES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11120 <p>Social media platforms are widely lauded as bastions for entrepreneurial self-actualisation and creative autonomy, offering an answer to historically exclusive and hierarchical creative industries as routes to employability and success. Social media influencers are envied by audiences as having achieved ‘the good life’, one in which they are able to ‘do what they love’ for a living (Duffy 2017). Despite this ostensive accessibility and relatability, today’s high-profile influencer culture continues to be shaped by ‘preexisting gendered and racial scripts and their attendant grammars of exclusion’ as Sarah Banet-Weiser (2012) argued in the early days of socially mediated entrepreneurship (p. 89; see also Bishop, 2017). In Western contexts only a narrow subset of white, cis-gender, and heterosexual YouTubers, Instagrammers, TikTokers, and Twitch streamers tend to achieve visibility as social media star-creators, and celebratory discourses of diversity and fairness mask problematic structures that exclude marginalized identities from opportunities to attain success. A key aim of this panel is thus to draw attention to marginalized creator communities and subjectivities, including women, non-white, and queer creators, all of whom face higher barriers to entry and success. More broadly, by taking seriously both the practices and discourses of social media influencers, the panellists aim to challenge popular denigrations of influencers as vapid, frivolous, or eager to freeload. We locate such critiques in longstanding dismissals of feminized cultural production (Levine, 2013) and argue, instead, that we need to take seriously the role of influencers in various social, economic, and political configurations.</p> Zoë Glatt Sarah Banet-Weiser Sophie Bishop Francesca Sobande Elizabeth Wissinger Joanne Entwistle Brooke Erin Duffy Agnès Rocamora Arturo Arriagada Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11120 MEDIATING PRECARITY THROUGH MOBILE APPS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11121 <p>This panel analyzes the use of mobile apps to mediate experiences of precarity—that is threats to life and livelihood itself. While we acknowledge that mobile apps offer opportunities to form networks of resistance, many apps also pose substantial risks to users. To begin to articulate these risks, the presentations in this panel consider case studies of several apps targeted at mediating experiences of precarity. First, we offer an analysis of “safety-oriented mobility” apps, which help users to avoid location-specific instances of harassment and violence. This presentation argues that that these apps can reinforce harmful homogeneity in spaces, enable surveillance of marginalized populations, and provide a false sense of security to users. Following this, we examine apps that have responded to intimate partner violence. In this presentation, we suggest that these mobile apps do very little to protect their users from harm and, instead, provide a short-term distraction from underlying issues. Finally, we look to LBGTQ+ apps aimed at finding romantic partners or coordinating sexual encounters through location sharing. In this presentation, we suggest that these apps pose risks of unwanted exposure and discrimination, particularly due to an uptick in data breaches and leaks. We conclude this panel by offering a collective statement that argues for systemic intervention addressing the inequalities within society but, until that time comes, we argue for measures that secure these mobile apps (and the data contained therein) and protect their users.</p> Ragan Glover-Rijkse Melissa Stone Megan Alyssa Fletcher Gayas Eapen Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11121 THE DEAD SPEAK: BIG DATA AND DIGITALLY MEDIATED DEATH https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11122 <p>In the following panel, we add to scholarly challenges regarding the binary distinction between life and death by examining new strategies of making productive the data of the dead. Digital media and tactics of big data collection, storage, and processing blur the boundaries of human lifecycles, allowing the individual to exist as a productive part of sociotechnical apparatuses long after their corporeal demise. Specifically, our presentations on digital data and death focus on the topics of subjectivation, consent and privacy, and commodification. Reanimator: Haunted Data, Streaming Media, and Subjectivity examines the process of subjectivation taking into account the haunted data and digital afterlives of streaming media. Here, the living and bounded subject is challenged by compositions of big data, platforms, infrastructures, and algorithms that offer the possibility of a productive sociotechnical economic subject unbounded from the human body. Grief by the Byte: Constructions of Data Consent, Privacy, and Stability in Griefbots interrogates the data practices and ethics related to the creation of chatbots from the data of deceased individuals. While “griefbots” are framed as helpful to those grieving a lost loved one, there remain questions about consent and privacy that accompany these interactions. Finally, What is Dead May Never Die: The Commodification of Death in Social Media studies how user data maintains economic value after death via networks designed to surveil, collect, and commodify the immaterial labor of the dead. These practices enable a possible economic future largely influenced by the data of the dead.</p> Justin Grandinetti Tyler DeAtley Jeffery Bruinsma Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11122 TRANSCODING BETWEEN HYPER-ANTAGONISTIC MILIEUS: STUDIES ON THE CROSS-PLATFORM RELATIONS BETWEEN RADICAL POLITICAL WEB SUBCULTURES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11123 <p>This panel brings together research into the cross-platform relations between radical Web subcultures and how they are constitutive of “hyper-antagonistic” politics in broader Web discourses. The papers share a concern with vernacular practices of “fringe” platforms favoured by an insurgent far-right movement and their relations to more “mainstream” social media. They engage with the concept of “transcoding between milieus” (Deleuze &amp; Guattari 1987, 322) as a means to empirically describe multiple transversal processes across different strata of the Web in which “one milieu serves as the basis for another” (313). All papers ground their conceptual analysis in data-driven empirical approaches using historical datasets ranging from “mainstream” platforms like YouTube, to more “fringe” spaces like 4chan. The papers furthermore all use 4chan’s far-right /pol/ board as a reference point for a vernacular “hyper-antagonistic” style that emerged out of this period – a style that has often been related to the “alt-right”. Together, the four papers in this panel offer insights into the apparent insurgency of far-right subcultures within broader online discourse in the Anglo-American context over the course of the last half decade. Each does so with a particular focus, ranging from subcultural conflict between Tumblr and 4chan, the transcoding of the “Kekistan” meme between 4chan and YouTube, the emergence of far-right vernacular in the comments of Breitbart News, and the robustness of hyper-antagonistic discourse after deplatforming measures.</p> Sal Hagen Marc Tuters Stijn Peeters Emillie De Keulenaar Jack Wilson Tom Willaert Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11123 REDDIT'S COMMUNITIES & CONSEQUENCES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11124 <p>As a platform, Reddit provides a bit of a conundrum. Despite being visited by more people than Netflix and remaining one of the most visited spaces on the web, it remains extraordinarily resistant to generalization. Some of the worst of Internet culture can be found on the site. It has served to amplify the voices of misogynists, supported vigilantism, and hosted child pornography. At the same time, some of the more civil conversations and learning communities appear on the site, with subreddits like Change My View fostering respectful deliberation. Even more than many other platforms, the lack of centralized moderation means that Reddit contains a very wide range of practices, some of them quite extreme. But because these exist on a single platform, users bring these practices with them, both to the “front page” of the platform, and to other areas within. The three papers that make up this panel seek to better understand localized behaviors and how they may relate to global flows of participants and practices. Of course, many of the discursive patterns that were fostered in subreddits make their way into other online and offline contexts. But before they do that, they have often been produced as part of a culture local to one subreddit, or to a “neighborhood” of subreddits. How these practices emerge, evolve, and relate to the actions of their users runs as a thread through the three presentations.</p> Alexander Halavais Adrienne Massanari Kelly Bergstrom Nathaniel Poor Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11124 TABOO OR NOT TABOO: (IN)VISIBILITIES OF DEATH, DYING AND BEREAVEMENT https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11125 <p>The notion that ‘death is a taboo’ pervades private, public and academic discourses around death, dying and bereavement in contemporary Western societies. The rise of digital media within the last decades further complicates the appreciation of the stance that death is a taboo, given the increased opportunities afforded in social media environments for embracing death, fostering new intimacies with strangers and semi-strangers but also for turning death into a spectacle (Jakobsen, 2016). The study of death-related practices online and the tensions they raise has rapidly been growing in the interdisciplinary field of Death online studies. However, in this field there is a need for developing shared conceptual and analytical frameworks and ensure methodological and theoretical robustness in line with developments in the study of social media communication. There is a need to synthesize insights from death sociology and interdisciplinary death online studies in order to shape an agenda for an integrated study of the offline and the online that can capture continuities and shifts in death-related practices (see also Borgstrom and Ellis, 2017). This panel collects four papers presented by six interdisciplinary scholars from Denmark, Sweden, Israel and the UK. Focusing on the (in)visibilities of death, dying and bereavement across contexts - online and offline - the papers critically revisit the ‘death is taboo’ thesis by investigating the particular conditions under which death, dying and bereavement are talked about, storied, and made socially visible and the ways in which technology plays a vital part in coping with mortality.</p> Ylva Hård af Segerstad Jo Bell Korina Giaxoglou Stacey Pitsillides Daphna Yeshua-Katz Kathleen Cumiskey Larissa Hjorth Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11125 SOCIALIZING THE NETWORKED INDIVIDUAL https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11126 <p>This panel adds the question of emerging and changing socialities to the broader nexus of mobilities and mobile communication studies, using the emerging concept of "mobilie socialities." "Mobile socialities" demarcates a new constellation of media scholarship that seeks to encapsulate human subjectivities of media as they are embedded in human processes, structures and experiences of mobility and sociality. The concept speaks to and critically builds upon notions of ‘networked individualism’ (Rainie &amp; Wellman, 2012), ‘network sociality’ (Wittel 2001) and ‘mediated mobilism’ (Hartmann 2013) to conceptualize productive ways of studying the social lives inherent in digitally mediated structures, subjectivities and practices of mobility. The four ethnographic papers on this panel develop this emerging concept through important topics including migration, experience, temporality, and precarity. In addressing the phenomena of people on the move and the role (or not) of mobile media in everyday instances of mobility and sociality, this panel contributes to a broader understanding of differing types of ‘mobile figures’ in networked times.</p> Maren Hartmann Carlos Jimenez Jamie Coates Roger Norum Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11126 MEDIATING MENTAL ILLNESS: DIGITAL LIFEWORLDS, PLATFORMS AND ALGORITHMS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11127 <p>How is mental illness conceptualised, designed, experienced or produced by digital life? This panel explores how digital technologies and media are transforming the performance, recognition, and experience of mental illness. We bring together different methodological and theoretical contributions towards an interdisciplinary study of mental illness and digital life. Our first two papers analyse specifically chatbots and ingestible sensors that are used for diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of mental illness in their entanglements with private companies, state policy, and university lab experimentations. Our first paper frames the emerging field of computational psychiatry as a biopolitical form of governance of mental illness through algorithmic and digital means, and analyses the logic of control through the example of a cognitive-behavioural therapy chatbot for depression and anxiety. The second paper turns to the body as a site of intervention for the treatment of psychiatric diagnoses and explores how we can think through the assemblages of digital technology, embodiment and moods associated with mental illness. Understanding online forums as potentially “enabling places,” the third paper discusses the relationships between space and location, and social experiences of mental ill-health on online forums posted by forum users living in remote areas in Australia. Our final paper considers the absence of these “enabling places” as digital platforms disafford familial or relational experiences of mental illness, and design out families where a parent or adult carer lives with mental illness.</p> Natalie Ann Hendry Evelyn Wan Jacinthe Flore Anthony McCosker Peter Kamstra Jane Farmer Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11127 PLATFORMIZING KNOWLEDGE: MESS AND MEANING IN WEB 3.0 INFRASTRUCTURES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11128 <p>This panel focuses on the way that platforms have become key players in the representation of knowledge. Recently, there have been calls to combine infrastructure and platform-based frameworks to understand the nature of information exchange on the web through digital tools for knowledge sharing. The present panel builds and extends work on platform and infrastructure studies in what has been referred to as “knowledge as programmable object” (Plantin, et al., 2018), specifically focusing on how metadata and semantic information are shaped and exchanged in specific web contexts. As Bucher (2012; 2013) and Helmond (2015) show, data portability in the context of web platforms requires a certain level of semantic annotation. Semantic interoperability is the defining feature of so-called "Web 3.0"—traditionally referred to as the semantic web (Antoniou et al, 2012; Szeredi et al, 2014). Since its inception, the semantic web has privileged the status of metadata for providing the fine-grained levels of contextual expressivity needed for machine-readable web data, and can be found in products as diverse as Google's Knowledge Graph, online research repositories like Figshare, and other sources that engage in platformizing knowledge. The first paper in this panel examines the international Schema.org collaboration. The second paper investigates the epistemological implications when platforms organize data sharing. The third paper argues for the use of patents to inform research methodologies for understanding knowledge graphs. The fourth paper discusses private platforms’ extraction and collection of user metadata and the enclosure of data access.</p> Andrew Iliadis Wesley Stevens Jean-Christophe Plantin Amelia Acker Huw Davies Rebecca Eynon Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11128 HUMAN-MACHINE COMMUNICATION: ETHICAL PERSPECTIVES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11129 <p>Digital voice assistants, social robots, artificial intelligence and progressively refined algorithms are ushering in new modes of interaction that increasingly mediates between human and machine. This panel will engage ethical questions related to those modes of interaction, ranging from discussion of automated journalism to virtual performers, digital research assistants to toys. The central concern among the papers to be presented is to probe the nature of the relationships forged between humans and machines when the latter are interlocutors and creators and not merely passive recipients of data through interaction. What new ethical issues are emerging as machines create journalism, as they create music and interact in performance, as they engage in research, as they become a part of childrens’ social circle?</p> Steve Jones Andrea Guzman Thomas Conner Ekaterina Pashevich Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 DISCONNECTION: DESIGNS AND DESIRES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11130 <p>One of the paradoxes of disconnection is that social platforms like Facebook frame it as a threat to our prosperity while critics associated with “the techlash” maintain that quite on the contrary it is the only thing that brings back the possibility for good life. Disconnection means different things for different actors and these differences manifest in varying desires and designs. The five papers in this panel draw on empirical research and media and cultural theory to find answers to questions such as what process have led to the desires to disconnect; how does something disconnect; when does it disconnect; what does it disconnect; and whose disconnection it is? Two of the papers map the choice to disconnect in situations where on one hand digital participation has become structurally necessary by the demands of the society and on the other where users are doing outdoor activities and it is connection that requires activity. Three of the papers focus on particular designs of disconnection from Facebook’s off-Facebook Activity Tool to UX Design Decks and the Light Phone. As a whole, the panel describes the different ways disconnection is becoming central to our online existence.</p> Tero Karppi Aleena Chia Airi Lampinen Zeena Feldman Michael Dieter Pedro Ferreira Alex Beattie Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11130 IN THE SHADOWS OF THE DIGITAL ECONOMY: THE GHOST WORK OF INFRASTRUCTURAL LABOR https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11131 <p>What does digital piecework have in common with laboring in the warehouse of a large online shopping platform? How is data cleaning related to digitization work and AI training in prisons? This panel suggests bringing these diverse ways of laboring in the digital economies together by considering these practices as infrastructural labor that takes the shape of shadow work (Illich, 1981) and ghost labor (Gray &amp; Suri, 2019). Work and labor in modern, capitalist society imply power, authority and possibility for resistance, and these dimensions are crucial for understanding why and how infrastructures are realized and how they work. Infrastructure labor is ambiguous. It is both visible and invisible depending on the specific tasks and their inherent power relations (Leigh Star &amp; Strauss, 1999). It includes both manual and cognitive labor. It is geared towards innovation as well as repair, maintenance and servitude. The panel aims to paint the contours of infrastructural labor at the margins of digital economies pointing towards forms of alienation and resistance that have for long been part of labor relations, but that are renegotiated in the context of emerging technologies within digital economies that need human labor to be sustained and further innovated.</p> Anne Kaun Julia Velkova Salla-Maaria Laaksonen Alessandro Delfanti Alexis Logsdon Fredrik Stiernstedt Tuukka Lehtiniemi Minna Ruckenstein Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11131 ‘COORDINATED INAUTHENTIC BEHAVIOUR’ AND OTHER ONLINE INFLUENCE OPERATIONS IN SOCIAL MEDIA SPACES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11132 <p>Recently, major social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have announced efforts to counter "coordinated inauthentic behaviour." However, scholarly research continues to provide evidence that coordinated human and automated accounts covertly seek to undermine and manipulate public debates on these platforms. Given the difficulties in obtaining data from these platforms to study these influence operations, and the significant challenge of identifying covert malinformation operations, further conceptual and methodological innovations are required. This panel brings together a selection of recent studies that advance the methods available for the forensic, mixed-methods, in-depth, and large-scale analysis of inauthentic information operations: Paper 1 investigates the arson disinformation campaign during the 2019-2020 Australian bushfire season. Paper 2 investigates the distribution and content monetisation strategies of junk news sources across a selection of five major social media platforms during the 2019 European Parliament campaign. Paper 3 explores whether Facebook's microtargeting advertising functionality allows political parties to promote conflicting narratives to different groups of people. Paper 4 studies the experience and engagement with malinformation by users of Facebook and WhatsApp, focussing on the current political environment in Brazil.</p> Tobias Keller Tim Graham Dan Angus Axel Bruns Rolf Nijmeijer Kristoffer Laigaard Nielbo Anja Bechmann Lisa-Maria Neudert Nahema Marchal Samantha Bradshaw Patrícia Rossini Jennifer Stromer-Galley Erica Anita Baptista Vanessa Veiga de Oliveira Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11132 ALGORITHMIC PRODUCTION BEYOND SILICON VALLEY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11134 <p>The last years have seen a proliferation of research on the social ramifications of algorithms (Eubanks 2018; Noble 2018) and the power of algorithms was insightfully theorized (Gillespie 2016; Bucher 2018). At the same time, scholars have begun to examine the ties between algorithms and culture (Seaver 2017), describing algorithms as products of complex socio-algorithmic assemblages (Gillespie 2016, 24), with often very local socio-technical histories (Kitchin 2017). However, the spatial trajectories through which algorithms operate, and the specific sociocultural contexts in which they arise have been largely overlooked. Accordingly, research tends to focus on American companies and on the effects their algorithms have on Euro-American users, while, in fact, algorithms are being developed in various geographical locations, and they are being used in diverse socio-cultural contexts. That is, research on algorithms tends to disregard the heterogeneous contexts from which algorithms arise and the effects various cultural settings have on the production of algorithmic systems. This panel aims to fill these gaps by offering four empirical perspectives on algorithmic production in three prominent tech centers: China, Canada, and Israel. We will ask: How do cross-cultural encounters construct notions of privacy? How is algorithmic discrimination understood and acted upon in China? What symbolical and material resources were invested in making Canada’s AI hubs? And how Israeli tech companies use their algorithms to profile their Other? Hence, this panel offers to think beyond the Silicon Valley paradigm, and to aim towards a more diverse, culturally-sensitive approach to the study algorithms.</p> Dan M Kotliar Rivka Ribak Shazeda Ahmed Jonathan Roberge Marius Senneville Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11134 RESCRIPTING FAILURE: THE REFLEXIVE STORIES THAT FIELDWORK TELLS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11135 <p>Researching everyday media practices is a messy and tricky business fraught with uncertainty. In this panel the authors ask how stories of failure, especially during fieldwork, can be rethought as a meaningful emergent method and approach. How can we productively reframe failure as a core part of the research process that cannot be subsumed into the telos of a success story after the research has been completed? How does does failure work in research? Our approach takes a different stance from dominant stories in the tech industry and geek economy, where failure is often represented in linear, heroic, gendered and individualistic ways, retrospectively rendering mess as instrumental to success. Similarly, within academia there are many research processes in which failure is instrumentalised or obscured—from writing up fieldwork into neatly packaged case-studies, to causal accounts of effective intervention. Progress narratives of knowledge production have been subject to much debate and criticism. What has been less discussed is how failures work as sometimes uncontainable aspects of research praxes—how they are endemic to the process of data collection and analysis, materializing while in the field. In this panel we suggest that these experiences are core to the thickness of fieldwork—they disclose the messiness and dynamics of the social, and should be included in the stories we tell. This panel aims to liberate discussion about failure to render it visible and core to understanding the politics and ethics of fieldwork and the research process. Through a series of stories from our fieldwork, we seek to further critical understanding of methodologies and techniques of failure, and argue for our obligations as researchers to talk about what happens when things go wrong.</p> Sybille Lammes Larissa Hjorth Ingrid Richardson Kat Jungnickel Anna Hickey-Moody Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11135 THE DATAFICATION OF CHILDHOOD: EXAMINING CHILDREN’S AND PARENTS’ DATA PRACTICES, CHILDREN’S RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND PARENTS’ DILEMMAS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11136 <p>In the age of continuous data collection and algorithmic predictions, children’s privacy seems threatened by the variety of surveillance and data practices in which parents, institutions, corporations and children themselves engage. The vast amount of data routinely collected about children as they grow up include data shared online, whether by children themselves (social media updates, web searches and browsing, data traces of their internet and smartphone use) or their parents (sharenting practices); data shared in the home, like conversations and environmental data captured by internet-connected devices such as smart speakers and internet connected toys; data shared outside the home, including educational and school apps, biometric data in schools and/or airports and stations, health data and medical records, geo-location apps or wearables, etc. Data can be knowingly shared with others, or “given off” as traces of online activities, and even inferred by algorithms that profile, classify and predict users’ behaviour. This panel on the datafication of childhood draws together a number of leading scholars in this area of research to explore questions and issues associated with children’s privacy online as both a protective and enabling right. The collection of papers in this panel contribute empirical data and theoretical insight on a range of relevant topics in the study of the datafication of childhood from the perspective of both children and parents. Based on qualitative and quantitative methods, the individual contributions to the panel illuminate the situated nature of data practices, their embeddedness in diverse contexts and practices of meaning-making through which children and parents negotiate online privacy.</p> Sonia Livingstone Mariya Stoilova Rishita Nandagiri Tijana Milosevic Aldona Zdrodowska Giovanna Mascheroni Lorenzo Giuseppe Zaffaroni Davide Cino Ellen Ann Wartella Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11136 THE BIOMETRIC LIVES OF MIGRANTS: BORDERS, DISCRIMINATION AND (IN)JUSTICE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11137 <p>Biometrics, the technology for measuring, analysing and processing a person’s physiological characteristics, such as their fingerprints, iris or facial patterns, is increasingly used in the management of migrant and refugee flows. This panel interrogates the uses of biometric technologies and the consequences for the lives of migrants and refugees. It asks how biometric data are constituted, what their limitations and biases are, how biometric technologies challenge traditional notions of the physical border, in whose interest and with what implications for migrants and refugees. In particular, in bringing together a multidisciplinary group of international experts to develop a critical, comparative and empirically grounded dialogue, the panel explores the consequences of this ‘machinic life’ for the lives of actual people, migrants and refugees who navigate actual and digital borders in the quest of a better life. As such, the panel engages with crucial themes of processes of bordering, extractive logics and commercial dimensions of biometric flows and algorithmic sorting, discrimination and exclusion, and human agency and autonomy. Ultimately, all papers are concerned with the broader intersection of data, computation and justice.</p> Mirca Madianou Lina Dencik Claudia Aradau Linnet Taylor Philippa Metcalfe Sarah Perret Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11137 DIGITAL CULTURES OF CARE, SAFETY AND WELLBEING https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11138 <p>Practices of self-care and social support have long been identified across social media platforms and apps, as people find new ways of using and adapting digital technologies to mediate and address personal and public health issues. But digital health participation is considerably contested and unevenly experienced, whether through the commodified ‘platformization’ of the health sector, or in the potentially ‘unhealthy’ engagement with dominant social media platforms or dating and hookup apps. Contemporary policy frameworks for participatory, digital-enabled healthcare (e.g., NHS, 2019) assume that we all engage in health or help seeking practices online, but have no answers to associated risks of over-exposure, invasive health surveillance or experiences of discrimination and harassment online, particularly for those at the margins. In our case studies, this is pertinent for transgender, non-binary and female hookup app users, people seeking support for mental ill-health, illicit drug users participating in crypto-markets and dark web communities. In response to this scenario, this panel asks: what are the forms and capacities for collective care in the current digital ecosystem, between social media platforms and dating apps struggling to address harassment or mental wellbeing, within health service-supported online forums, and across the dark web? This panel looks at evidence and answers, as well as research practices and ethics, to understand personal and collective attempts to negotiate, manage, circumvent and otherwise find ways to reinvent cultures of care through digital platforms.</p> Anthony McCosker Alexia Maddox Kath Albury Christopher Dietzel Monica Barratt Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11138 OPTIMIZING OUR NETWORKED LIVES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11139 <p>We use the term networked optimization to emphasize a sustained but changing set of techniques, technologies, and calculations to decide the best life -- the optimal -- through infrastructures, design, mathematics and engineering. Optimization is a vital concept at a time of critical interest in infrastructural power. Usually defined as doing actions to make the best or most effective use of something, our panel highlights the different uses of the term across the internet. Used as a selling point by many technology companies, optimization means different things to different actors. Perhaps the most important question on this is optimized for who? From Facebook to 5G, our panelists work across technical and theoretical literatures as well as computer science and humanities to identify the social implications of networked optimization. Author #1 examines how Facebook’s personalization ideology is engineered into its infrastructure to influence people’s behaviors to maximize its advertising value. Author #2 looks to the discourses and infrastructure of Google’s cloud computing that promise a form of global social engineering. Author #3 takes these questions out of the cloud and into the next-generation of the Internet, 5G. The promised new wireless infrastructure makes a major shift in the meta-governance of communications and re-consolidates power in network operators. Finally, Author #4 looks for forms of resistance through the development of Protective Optimization Technologies that help people counter efforts to nudge and shape their behaviours. </p> Fenwick McKelvey Elinor Carmi Niels ten Oever Seda Gürses Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11139 MEDICALIZED MASCULINITIES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11140 <p>While studies of masculinities often trace processes of either medicalization or mediatization, few interrogate masculinities at their very intersection. Doing so is the main contribution of this panel, which brings together cases that illustrate the effects these large-scale changes in digital and medical technologies have on masculinities today. Theoretically, the panel is based on the notion that society and everyday life are increasingly intertwined with and enrolled in both the logics of the health and pharmaceutical industry and in communication technology and media. Femininities have long been the subjects for the (bio)medicalizing, and conversely, up until the release of Viagra, privileged or hegemonic masculinities were left seemingly unaffected. At the same time, to understand masculinity today we must also consider how media technologies take part in the negotiation, practice, and affect of masculinities. To do so the panel presents four cases of mediatized and medicalized masculinities: Mie Birk Jensen uses analyze thousands of spam emails for their affective and normative production of virile masculinity; Tobias Raun and Michael Nebeling Petersen use ethnographic archive analysis of Youtube communities to understand peer learning and monetization of hair-loss products; and Kristian Møller uses participant observation to capture the sexual intensification in an online gay drug scene.</p> Kristian Møller Mie Birk Jensen Michael Nebeling Tobias Raun Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11140 THE HIDDEN BLUEPRINT: A DISSECTION OF THE TECHNOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT ON LIVING SYSTEMS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11141 <p>The proliferation of technological systems which permeate, and often dominate, human sociological systems is ripe for critical exploration. The purpose of this panel is to investigate the myriad ways in which technology has encroached upon—and, arguably, engineered—human behaviors, once considered the domain of psychological and biological outcomes. Additionally, this panel will offer critical insight into how disproportionate and otherwise ethically skewed technological influence may be mitigated at the point of creation in order to restore balance between tech consumer and tech creator. Topics in this panel span human migration, algorithmic encoding, human-machine communication, datafication of the human subject, glitch technology, and AI-based prediction. This panel will investigate ways in which technology has converged with human systems, often unquestioned, and offer analysis into the potential consequences of this convergence, as well as potential solutions for alleviating the omnipresence of technical sovereignty on living systems. Specific panel presentations discuss: • The inorganic digital footprint that mitigates the tangible human footprint of human migration. • The pitfalls of cybernetic prediction and the corrosive nature of AI-based prediction. • The nature of human-machine communication, as documented by interactions with Amazon Go. • Normalization of gender, as evidenced by algorithmic determination in Spotify suggestions. • The emancipatory power of “breaking” the black box of participatory technology. Each panel topic identifies technology as the basis for living systems at the socio-cultural level. For example, multiple papers investigate how algorithms seek to manage, mitigate, and encourage human behavior, while others look at the physical technological infrastructure which guides the flow of human migration. The overarching goal of each paper encourages the end-user to take a deeper look at the symbiotic relationship between digital infrastructure and living systems in order to critically examine the consequences of convergence without critical oversight. Each paper in this panel also identifies a humanistic concept that interrogates the blurring between natural and artificial, human and machine, agency, and autonomy. Dissection of the hidden blueprint of techno-socio systems requires scholars to reconsider what it means to be human and forces a critical inquiry about why, how, and under what circumstances machines can or should engineer or augment human actors, and the extent to which machines can be made to act responsibly. For example, as displaced populations are forced from their nation-states, the ethical implications that those migrants of diaspora may tailor their migratory routes to current technological infrastructure must be considered. As we evolve towards engineering more scalable communication networks capable of harnessing the allegiance of a wide swath of the population based on geographic proximity, we mustn’t neglect to consider that these networks are driving human behavior as much, if not more, than they are supporting it. Similarly, when considering the hidden philosophical blueprint that prescribes predictive artificial intelligence, we mustn’t neglect to consider the assumptions which belie this philosophy, nor the impact of systems derived from such philosophy which claim to predict the patterns of our human behavior. These research topics identify the importance and relevance of scholarship in the area of human-machine communication and advocate for their inclusion in the conceptualization, prototyping, and creation of ethical robotic and AI technologies. Increasingly, humans find themselves socializing with intelligent agents and robots at home, in schools, and at work. Further, humans often do recognize the extent to which technological systems drive human behavior. This panel offers a glimpse into the necessary, provocative, and timely discussion about HMC and the role of critical scholarship in shaping technologies of the future. As technology progresses, we find ourselves on the precipice of social and cultural evolution in which the illusory real disguised as “user-friendliness” becomes more and more ubiquitous in design theory. In many respects, the trajectory of the modern-day Internet suggests that rather than heading towards emancipation (what user-friendliness promises)--we are headed closer to invisibility. Each of these panels reveals a mechanism by which we may peek into the constructs of our techno-social reality, as so that we may mitigate the dangers of such invisibility.</p> Carrie O'Connell Chad Van De Wiele Kristina Sawyer Michele Ferris-Dobles Melina Garcia Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11141 GAMES OF EMPIRE TEN YEARS ON https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11143 <p>The panel will retrospectively evaluate the significance of the seminal text Games of Empire (2009) for new media and game studies, reflecting on the contribution of autonomous Marxism to the study of digital culture today, as well as the methodological move it performed in tracing continuities and discontinuities between sites of production and play. Each paper will take one or two key concepts from the original book, including Empire, multitude, ideology, and cognitive capitalism, and apply them to the contemporary moment in the games sector. Our aim is to explore the strengths and limitations of these concepts, as well as identify the salient ways in which the sector has evolved over the last ten years. For example, we will examine efforts at unionisation in the sector; how gender and race have emerged as key concerns in the last few years in sites of game work; how apps are affecting the representation of capitalist and military systems; and how ‘multitude’ in the sector has assumed new forms in the wake of new distribution platforms. The panel will make a case for integrating social theory with the analysis of production cultures and textual practices, as well as situating the analysis of games within the field of new media and internet studies more broadly.</p> Caroline Pelletier Paolo Ruffino Jamie Woodcock Ergin Bulut David Nieborg Robbie Fordyce Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11143 RACING THE PLATFORM/PLATFORMING RACE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11144 <p>Race and racism are enduring structural forces that have a hand in virtually every aspect of society; the internet and its vast array of platforms, applications, devices, and cultures are well within their grasp (Nakamura and Chow-White, 2013; Brock, 2020). The papers on this panel trouble, question, and reorient notions of how race comes to matter in our contemporary digital landscape. We build on scholarship that explores how content creators make sense of their relationships to audiences, their contested digital labor, and the centrality of identity to their (im)material work (eg: Baym, 2018; Abidin, 2018; Senft, 2008). Indeed, as critical internet researchers interested in “the lively, animated machines of today’s internet”, we argue that an examination of influencers, microcelebrity, and virality that explicitly attends to race and racism is sorely needed. This panel brings together a diverse group of interdisciplinary (anthropology, sociology, media and communication, game studies, queer studies, and feminist studies) scholars working in the United States and Australia, who engage in empirical and theoretical research on microcelebrity and influencer cultures. The papers in this panel employ a broad range of methods - including qualitative discourse analysis and digital ethnographic research of YouTubers, OnlyFans creators, TikTok users, and Facebook groups - to offer a multifaceted analysis of how race and racism function across social media platforms and within microcelebrity/influencer cultures. The first paper takes the broadest approach in their digital ethnographic work and attempts to flesh out the workings of race, gender, and political economies of influencers on YouTube. Particularly, Paper 1 analyzes the Pokémon GO phenomenon and the influencers who came to fame through building relationships with their fans, discarding conversations of race and racism, and engaging in unequal, gendered forms of private work. Key to its argument is an examination of how particular social locations of race and gender and the neoliberal project of entrepreneurship affect the clout, visibility, and well-being of Pokémon GO influencers. The next three papers focus explicitly on how race operates within microcelebrity and influencer circles as well as the effects that racism has on influencers across various social media platforms. Indeed, Paper 2 examines how race and racism mediate the experiences of gay porn microcelebrities in order to flesh out the differing, racialized relational work that occurs on OnlyFans and within its attendant social media subcultures. Most crucially, it destabilizes the often unnamed ‘white default’ of porn studies, while accounting for how race, racism, and sexuality shape online microcelebrity. Paper 3 studies the TikTok platform to think about how young influencers navigate race and racism and pose social justice stances on a burgeoning and ephemeral platform. In particular, engagement with American racial and cultural politics are explicitly linked to notions of platformed citizenship norms on TikToK. Finally, Paper 4 introduces the term “platformed race” to interrogate how Asianness is commodified, circulated, and microcelebrified within Subtle Asian Things (SAT), a private Facebook group. The paper interrogates how dominant narratives on SAT tend to leverage diasporic Asianess in the generation and circulation of memes, which in turn provoke socio-political debate and incite culturally relevant discourse amongst its distributed global community. To summarize, our analyses explore the intersections of microcelebrity and influencer economies, cultures, and labor demands by looking at how creators and their audiences experience race and racism across several platforms. Our various approaches contribute different examinations of race and racism to existing literature on the everyday experiences and structural hurdles that microcelebrities and influencers must endure in order to sustain their livelihood in a shifting platform(ed) landscape (eg: Abidin, 2018, Baym, 2018, Duffy, 2017). As internet researchers working with qualitative methods, we can never know in advance what contexts might be most meaningful for our work, and so we remain critical of how we make sense of both our own judgements and those of our participants (Markham and Baym, 2009). References Abidin, C. (2018). Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online. United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing. Baym, N. K. (2018). Playing to the crowd: Musicians, audiences, and the intimate work of connection (Vol. 14). NYU Press. Brock Jr, A. (2020). Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures (Vol. 9). NYU Press. Duffy, B. (2017). (Not) getting paid to do what you love: Gender, social media, and aspirational work. New Haven; London: Yale University Press. Markham, A. N., &amp; Baym, N. K. (Eds.). (2009). Internet inquiry: Conversations about method. Sage Publications. Nakamura, L., &amp; Chow-White, P. (Eds.). (2013). Race after the Internet. Routledge. Senft, T. M. (2008). Camgirls: Celebrity and community in the age of social networks (Vol. 4). Peter Lang.</p> Christopher Jahmail Persaud Nick-Brie Guarriello Elena Maris Crystal Abidin Meg Jing Zeng Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11144 NOVEL, EDUCATIONAL AND LEGAL RESPONSES TO TECHNOLOGY-FACILITATED SEXUAL VIOLENCE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11146 <p>The three panel presenters and session chair are co-researchers in a seven-year research partnership—involving 28 educational institutions, 25 co-investigators,15 community partners, and 50+ students—that aims to address sexual violence in physical and virtual forms in university contexts across Canada and internationally. The project specifically seeks to address, dismantle and prevent sexual violence by means of multi-sector partnership solutions across the fields of education, law, policy, arts, popular culture, health care, management, news and social media. Using the methodological framework of Parallaxic Praxis (Sameshima et al., 2019), the team looks at a phenomenon from different perspectives by using varied methodological processes as well as a range of rigorous methods of encoding, decoding, and rendering data; and establishing post-qualitative possibilities for generating and mobilizing knowledge to broader audiences. The juxtaposition of renderings (constructions made from deep analysis of the phenomena such as papers, presentations, artworks, and other artefacts), when presented together, manufacture a dynamic agency between works capturing intertextualities, aporias, choruses, and a poesis that arise in the coalescence of the unassimilated, individual investigations. In this panel, an overview of the larger project and the significant milestones in the first four years specifically related to internet technologies will be provided. Drawing from multi-perspectives, the second presenter will address image-based sexual abuse and copyright in Canada, and the third will share data collected from this project in the form of excerpts from an epistolary novel. The session demonstrates how multi-modal investigations and dissemination offer possibilities for extending knowledge production.</p> Pauline Sameshima Rebecca Katz Shaheen Shariff Christopher Dietzel Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11146 DIGITAL LABOR SOLIDARITIES, COLLECTIVE FORMATIONS, AND RELATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11147 <p>Research on digital worker experiences have shed light on the problematic realities of digital labor, which include increasing levels of stress and anxiety over financial and career instability, physical exhaustion, and isolation - all of which underscore the precarity that belie the optimistic facade of labor under the new economy. Given the multiple constraints underlying collective formation among digital workers, this panel explores the characteristics and dynamics of emerging forms of collective organisation among digital workers by reflecting on experiences from China, the Philippines, Brazil, and India. Examining experiences of digital labor organisation and challenges to build solidarity across national and even regional experience, the panel hopes to enrich the discussion in terms of the politics, cultural nuances, and local meanings useful for examining digital worker expressions of resistance and solidarity amidst continuing technological development and platform reforms. This close examination of diverse forms of collective organisation, as well as the relational infrastructures underlying them, aims demonstrate how workers challenge the dominant claims of global capitalism while steep in recognition of the opportunities that these offer.</p> Cheryll Ruth Soriano Rafael Grohmann Yujie Chen Athina Karatzogianni Jack Qiu Jason Vincent Cabanes Paula Alves Andrija Dey Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11147 SOCIALITY AND MONETIZATION ON LIVE STREAMING PLATFORMS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11148 <p>This panel presents ongoing research into online “live streaming” platforms, which offer the live broadcast of individuals’ activities - primarily but not exclusively digital gameplay - over the internet to potentially massive worldwide audiences. The largest platform in this area (on which we focus) is Twitch.tv, already the 30th most-viewed website in the world, with comparable platforms boasting large viewing numbers in China, Korea, and Japan. Our first talk examines Twitch as the dominant leading live streaming platform, outlining its evolution and historical origins while unpacking some of the fundamental user-platform relationships manifested on the site. The second addresses itself to the sociality of live streaming, which unlike traditional video media formats enables a rapid live exchange of comments and conversation between live streaming producers and consumers. The third paper presents an overview and typology of monetization methods in live streaming, focusing in particular on the gamified and “gamblified” elements of making money through the practice, as well as how these practices have evolved through a three-way dialogue between viewers, “streamers”, and platforms. The fourth paper builds on this by examining the on-platform currency of Twitch, known as “Bits”, and how the platform captured donations from viewers through the implementation of this currency system. The fifth and final paper will then further develop these critical enquiries into monetization methods and platform dynamics by presenting a number of extremely contemporary developments in this area on Twitch, exploring new the routes for capital flow enabled by new platform infrastructures and technological systems.</p> Nick Bowman Mark Richard Johnson Jamie Woodcock Will Partin Nathan Jackson Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11148 DATAFICATION IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR: EXPLORING THE BORDERS BETWEEN PUBLIC SERVICES AND CITIZENS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11149 <p>This panel presents on-going research from a large research project on digital infrastructures and citizen participation in the Nordic countries, with a focus on the datafication of the public sector and the construction of new borders between public services and citizens. In recent years, governments have faced increasing pressures to become datafied or “data-driven”. A more data-driven public is said to be able to develop a whole new range of services that are envisaged to result in better services, more effective government, more transparency in the public sector, more just service delivery, and the empowerment of citizens. The panel critically examines the challenges that arise when the precepts are to be converted into working services – such as: What kinds of foreseen and unforeseen transformations does the development of new services give rise to? • What kinds of resistance are the new services facing? • What new forms of expertise, enrollment of new actors, organizational restructuring and redelegation of roles and relations are needed? • How are citizens/clients envisioned and inscribed into the scenarios for future public administration? • How are citizens/clients consulted in the design and development of the services? • How are the new services experienced by citizens/clients? In sum, the presentations in this panel span a range of urgent themes related to the construction of borders (and alleys) between public sector services and citizens – from anticipations to effects and efforts.</p> Hendrik Storstein Spilker Lisa Reuter Heather Broomfield Anne Aasback Tangni Cinningham Dahl-Jørgensen Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11149 PODCASTING IN TRANSITION: FORMALIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11150 <p>Podcasting has thrived since its popularization in 2004 as a bastion for amateur media production. Over the past ten years, however, entrepreneurs and legacy media companies have rapidly expanded their interests in podcasting, bringing with them professional standards and the logics of capital. Breakout hits such as 2014’s Serial (with nearly 40 million downloads) and This American Life have demonstrated to both programmers and advertisers the potential for podcasting to emerge as a commercially viable media industry (O’Connell, 2015). According to a recent nationwide survey by Edison Research (2019), an estimated 90 million listeners reported having listened to a podcast in the previous month. Despite the medium’s homespun, DIY roots, this dramatic expansion of the podcast audience and interest from legacy media has begun to transform it “from a do-it-yourself, amateur niche medium into a commercial mass medium” (Bonini, 2015, p. 27). This proposed panel aims to explore the transitions currently underway in podcasting. Specifically, each of the papers on this panel address in some way the process of formalization, or the process by which “media systems become progressively more rationalized, consolidated and financially transparent” (Lobato &amp;Thomas, 2015, p. 27). Formalization is not a monolithic process, but rather one that is responsive to existing institutional, regulatory, and cultural structures. It is also historically contingent. The first paper, entitled “Podcasting as a cultural form between old and new media” utilizes a historical lens to link the current trajectory of the medium’s development to the development and domestication of radio in the 1920s as well as the rise of online streaming services in the 21st Century. In particular, this paper situates podcasting in the context of these earlier technologies, arguing that the medium is best understood as a complex interplay between networks of market actors. This complex interplay of actors is explored in more detail by papers 2 and 3. In the second paper, entitled “Formalising the informal: BBC commissions and the shape of podcasts,” the author explores the powerful role of the BBC in providing an institutional and creative framework for podcasting production via its BBC Sounds online radio platform. Through the efforts of this venerable public service broadcaster to reach new audiences by developing podcast content specific to this platform, this paper argues that the medium’s amateur and informal ethos stands to be re-shaped. The third paper, entitled “Protecting public podcasting: Are U.S. news, public affairs, and learning podcasts at risk?”, takes a macro-level view of the formalization process, focusing on podcasts within the U.S. context. Nothing that the most popular podcasts in the U.S. are either learning or information-oriented, this paper argues that the podcast ecosystem fulfills an important public service function. The introduction of platform services like Spotify as power players in podcast distribution, coupled with the rise of advertising as a means of monetization, presents new risks for perpetuation of the medium as an aural public service resource. The fourth paper expands the arguments surrounding podcast formalization by exploring the introduction of market information regimes within the medium. Specifically, this paper explores the development of audience metrics for podcasting, beginning in the mid-2000’s. This paper makes clear that powerful industry players such as Apple and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) are quickly standardizing the measurement of podcast audiences. These standards create a more transparent market for advertisers, but in so doing they also shift the focus away from the unique nature of podcast content and move it toward notions of audience size. This has the potential to move the medium further away from its amateur roots. Finally, the fifth paper on the panel attempts to reframe the formalization debate by pulling the discussion away from the confining binaries of utopian or dystopian narratives. Instead, this paper situates podcasting within a much broader context by leveraging Don Idhe’s phenomenological philosophy of technology to “speculate on a potential future of reified oral/aural meditation.” This paper considers the nature of the medium itself as a unique “techno-sonic experience”. Here, podcasting is not considered as a medium being shaped by the formalization efforts of institutions or legacy forms of media. Instead, podcasting emerges as a transformational technology that promises a new era of sound integration.</p> John Sullivan Patricia Aufderheide Tiziano Bonini Richard Berry Dario Llinares Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11150 PLATFORMED SEX LIVES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11151 <p>This panel builds on a recently funded research project on the geopolitics of digital sexual cultures in Estonia, Sweden, and Finland (2020-2022) investigating three local online platforms devoted to communities around nudity and kink: iha.ee, darkside.se, and alastonsuomi.com. Our case studies are in a sense “edge cases” which partly move within sexual margins, making space for alternate understandings of platform sociability. Contra to the current de-platforming of sex, our case-studies foreground sex as the dynamics that bind users to the sites and fuel diverse engagements between them. The papers are work in progress and provide initial platform analyses inspired by the walkthrough method (Light et al. 2018) and the notion of platforms as microsystems (van Dijck 2013). We focus on platform affordances and governance in terms of gender and sexuality; acceptable behavior and sexual practices; and public visibility and privacy. This opens up three important discussions with relevance to the AoIR community: (1) how digital platforms shape and constrain sexual expression at a political moment when the sexual dimensions of life are increasingly pushed out of public view; (2) how these local platforms, as notable arenas for sexual expression, contribute to sexual cultures within the Nordic and Baltic region; and (3) how our examples, when understood as social media platforms, can help to push understandings of what social media are, how they operate, and what kind of sociability they allow for. The panel opens up a discussion of how sex matters in social media, how it is valued and communicated.</p> Jenny Sundén Katrin Tiidenberg Susanna Paasonen Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11151 DIGITAL PLACEMAKING https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11152 This panel introduces and critically examines the concept of "digital placemaking" as practices that create emotional attachments to place through digital media use. As populations and the texts they produce become increasingly mobile, such practices are proliferating, and a striking array of applications and uses have emerged which exploit the affordances of mobile media to foster an ability to navigate, understand, connect to, and gain a sense of belonging and familiarity in place. The concept of digital placemaking is both a theoretical and applied response to the spatial fragmentation, banal physical environments, and community disintegration thought to have accompanied the speed and scale of globalization—the implications of which include suggestions that our collective sense of place has been disrupted, leaving people unsure of their belonging within conditions and boundaries that seem increasingly fluid. While it is imperative to attend to the shifting social, economic, and political conditions that give rise to such concerns, it is also necessary to recognize the many ways people actually use digital media to negotiate differential mobilities and become placemakers. Papers in this interdisciplinary panel consider digital placemaking through a range of perspectives investigating lived experiences of assorted communities with disparate social and economic power to demonstrate how digital media can facilitate social and geographic boundary crossing while encouraging new ways of placing ourselves—symbolically, virtually, or through co-located presence. Rowan Wilken Lee Humphreys Erika Polson Roger Norum Saskia Witteborn Germaine Halegoua Jordan Frith Jacob Richter Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11152 MEASURED EDUCATION: SENSING, CONFIGURING AND INTERVENING WITH ADVANCED MEDIA https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11153 Education has long been a space of in which knowledge was created through data practices. But the ongoing datafication and digitalisation has made new forms of datafied knowledge production within educational research possible. This new form of datafied knowledge creation has shifted the sites of expertise and the authority to create educational knowledge to a more-than-human network. This panel conceptually and empirically examines the possibilities and implications that arise from the entanglement of education with advanced media such as ubiquitous sensory environments, APIs, machine learning, and codes. The panel shows how the idea of measurable and re-configurable bodies of students is being performed and stabilized through trade shows and academic conferences; it moves towards a critical analysis of different applications of facial recognition in education and the role of doubt in machine learning methods; it shows the complex involvement of advanced learning analytics through a critical examination of interrelated studies in behavioural genetics and genoeconomics looking for associations between genes and educational outcomes through bioinformatic methods; and, it examines learning and living spaces that create a situation of ubiquitous sensation and explores interventions to disrupt the technical milieu. What connects these papers is more than the spaces, ideas and practices that surround education. All contributions look at datafied knowledge about human life – whether in behavioural, physiological, emotional, or genetic form. The panel aims to show what critical education research has adopted from other disciplines, but also show how it can contribute to the wider discourse around science, technology and society. Kevin Witzenberger Kalervo Gulson Sam Sellar Ben Williamson Elizabeth de Freitas Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11153 METHODS THAT MOVE US: CREATIVITY AND ETHICS IN RESEARCHING DIGITAL YOUTH CULTURES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11426 <p class="paper_abstract">For scholars exploring digital youth cultures, creative research methods offer the potential to disrupt existing power imbalances, form empowering creative practices or closely engage with knowledge production that is dynamic, embodied and socially contextual. Yet the experience of doing creative research methods poses challenges that are often under- or unacknowledged in our work.</p> <p class="paper_abstract">This roundtable brings together researchers from different countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, and the United Kingdom), career stages, and with differing methodological expertise to discuss the ethical, personal, theoretical and methodological challenges of creative methods research to understand intersectionally diverse groups of young people and their digitally lives.</p> <p class="paper_abstract">In the spirit of creative methods, our roundtable opens with a short creative, hands-on task that encourages reflection on the following aspects of researching young people’s digital lives: approaching ethics, anonymity, care and vulnerability; choosing suitable research methods; including young people in research; rethinking what counts as “data”; and publishing research results.</p> <p class="paper_abstract">We will then share brief summaries of our research, addressing ethical challenges at different stages of the research process; from diversity in recruitment and interactions between research designs and young people’s digital lives, to representations of young voices in academic writing and young people’s possibilities of long-term commitments in participatory research. We want to emphasize the importance of openly discussing the challenges we face as researchers but also as practitioners, educators and activists, and we will invite participants to discuss their own research relating to creative methods, ethics and youth digital cultures.</p> <p class="paper_abstract">Our work emphasises the political and pedagogical need for research that approaches young people’s diverse media practices through respectful listening and co-production methods. Additionally, we wish to reflect on our own positions as researchers and feminists, and on which perspectives we can represent and which we cannot.</p> Signe Uldbjerg Natalie Hendry Ysabel Gerrard Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Paper of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11426 SOCIAL MEDIA AND RELIGIOUS IDENTITY CHANGE AMONG MUSLIM ARAB WOMEN IN ISRAEL https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11154 <p>This study investigates the interface between increased religiousity among Muslim Arab women in Israel, and their social media use. To understand their use of social media as part of a profound change in social identity, fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with Muslim women aged 19-26 who are, or have been, social media users, who live in Israel, and who have become significantly more religious than they had previously been. The findings show two different logics of social media use in times of religious identity change. The first includes reconstructing social media ties to be an alternative, supportive environment, while the second relates to decision making based on the religious rules newly adopted by respondents. Two main social practices were related to the second kind of social media use: managing (and often removing) ties with male users, which raised profound personal dilemmas, and removing digital traces by deleting past posts and photos. Such decisions were made to obey religious rules rather than to gratify personal needs. Social media accompany and assist in the identity change, starting from its very beginnings, and throughout the process. While previous research shows that SNS tie management is an essential part of our identity, our findings show the religious identity of women to be a distinct case where religious rules guide behaviour and decision making. The very fact that these acts and dilemmas are visible to us is a result of paying special attention to identities in flux.</p> Aysha Agbarya Nicholas John Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11154 COMBINING MULTIPLE DISINFORMATION COUNTERMEASURES TO REGULATE ELECTION DISRUPTIONS: THE SOUTH KOREAN CASE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11155 <p>Disinformation spread through social media has been widely detected around the world in recent years. Researchers, the press, and the public alike have expressed strong concerns about disinformation influencing public discourse and elections, perceiving it as a direct threat to democracy. Democratic countries once reluctant to restrict freedom of speech are now actively examining countermeasures to disinformation. Such measures could be divided into four categories: Regulating platforms, criminalization of offenders, governmental monitoring, and relying on civil society. The existing literature so far has focused more on examining the pros and cons of individual policy directions rather than providing an overview of the entire dynamics when multiples measures are combined in practice. It is due to most countries still being at their infancy discussing and inventing a disinformation regulation suitable for their legal freedom of speech protection structure. South Korea is unique in that it has operated a system dealing with disinformation for over a decade now, and in that it has a system specifically dedicated to election protection combining three of the four measures introduced above. Through scrutinizing both the legal framework and execution practices of the multiple disinformation countermeasures in South Korea, this research expands the existing literature by offering insights on how combining measures could result in unforeseen discounts of freedom of speech.</p> Soyun Ahn Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11155 TMI: INFORMATION RHETORIC TYPES IN DIGITAL POLITICAL INFOGRAPHICS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11156 <p>Visualizations are reliant on visual encoding, in which attributes of data are depicted through graphic symbols (Cairo, 2019). As such, they are placed as a transitional mode between data and information in the linear framework of the "wisdom hierarchy" (DIKW). In the digital information environment, both the linear learning process and the distinction between data and information merit a re-evaluation. This paper seeks to create a better understanding of information's role in digital culture, by venturing to re-examine its attributes. Relying on a sample of all visualizations posted by the top four candidates of the 2016 US elections (n=252), I applied qualitative grounded analysis informed by theory: First, I constructed a conceptual model for the attributes of information, which relies on three layers – (1) foundation (substantiation/sources); (2) building blocks (data components); (3) data-structures (analysis). Second, following a classification of all units according to this model, I defined types of visualization rhetoric that each rely on specific formulations of information attributes (foundation, building blocks and structure) to make a political argument. Finally, I identify two modes of visual information-rhetoric in elections: unveiling and imagining. The model and categories defined in this study demonstrate how the rhetorical agility required for modern political campaigning seems to muddle the axiomatic distinctions of data and information and create new, unpredictable hybrid information and rhetorical types, some of which rely heavily on estimations and fantasy, rather than empirical observation and evidence.</p> Eedan Amit-Danhi Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11156 CURATING MEMORIES: THE ROLE OF EMOTION IN THE DIGITAL MEMORY WORK OF YOUNG WOMEN ON INSTAGRAM & FACEBOOK https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11159 <p>A core understanding in memory studies is that memory is not formed by an individual in insolation. Instead, it is guided by social frameworks and enacted within a particular social context. This is articulated by van Dijck (2007) as an inseparability of mediated memories from culture. Accordingly, the active, purposeful creation of and re-engagement with digital traces of the past in the present on Instagram and Facebook by young women can be situated in the postfeminist, neoliberal environment. Significantly, the particular expectations and pressures on how young women should feel and act intersect with the performance of digital memory work. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the particular ‘feeling rules’ (Kanai, 2019) articulated by the young women and consider more broadly the role that emotion plays in shaping the performance of digital memory work on Instagram and Facebook. I draw on data gathered from semi-structured interviews with young women aged between 18 and 21 living in London, and ethnographic observations of their Instagram and Facebook profiles. This is complemented with a socioeconomic platform analysis (van Dijck, 2013) and a technical walkthrough (Light et al. 2016), carried out to examine how Instagram and Facebook encourage particular emotions to be expressed and the entanglement of memory and emotion in their memory product. The analysis explores the overlap between the encouragement by platforms and expectations of the postfeminist environment for happy moments to be shared with the way that different emotions influence what is shared by participants.</p> Taylor Annabell Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11159 NOT NATURAL, NOR NEUTRAL: THE CULTURAL CONFIGURATIONS OF SOCIAL MEDIA AFFORDANCES WITHIN CHILEAN INFLUENCER INDUSTRY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11160 <p>This paper explores the configurations of social media’s affordances within the Chilean influencer industry. Chile has a growing number of professional social media influencers who blur global norms and local markets, working with both local brands and international campaigns. We argue for situating affordances within a wider context in which the features of platforms acquire particular meanings. Our analysis focuses on two dynamics. On the one hand, we examine how the Chilean influencer industry is shaped by a technological frame (Bijker, 1995) that structures the valence of affordances. We show that affordances are not “naturally” or “neutrally” imagined by actors but rather culturally located within technological frames that shape the discourses, values, and practices from which they obtain cultural meaning. On the other hand, we analyze how affordances provide a material support for the temporal and spatial expansion of technological frames. Thus, cultural contexts and platforms’ features mutually constitute each other in ways that have not always been recognized in the scholarly literature about affordances. We situate negotiations about what it means to be an influencer in Chile, the role of intermediaries (e.g. branding agencies), communication with followers, and the global influencer industry as part of this mutually constitutive relationship.</p> Arturo Arriagada Ignacio Siles Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11160 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICTS) AS OPPRESSORS OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: A POWER PERSPECTIVE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11162 <p>While the literature discusses ICTs as enablers of activism, this paper discusses the manipulation of power through ICTs in activism. Power makes using ICTs in activism dangerous and risky. This paper is a product of 30 semi-structured interviews with Arab Spring grassroots human rights groups that operated before 2015 but no longer do because of oppression and how it affected them physically and psychologically. The paper explains power structures enabled by ICTs inside and outside social movements. It also discusses how the power manifested through ICTs creates much risk of different types for activists: technical, social, psychological and political. First, ICTs created more ways for authoritarian regimes to watch over activists. The asymmetry of visibility (Brighenti, 2010) is one result of the advancements in ICTs that directly affected activists’ mental health by creating anxiety among them, not knowing when and how they are being watched. This asymmetry has also endangered activists’ lives, because if they are unaware of being under surveillance and take no precautionary measures, they are an easy target for state oppression. The two conflicting sides, activists and the state, both make use of ICTs as a space for action turning ICTs into an arena for power struggle. Another side of power that this paper discusses exists within social movements that are claimed to be leaderless. Even though activists do not want to be in an authoritarian system, they create a situation whereby their refusal to decide who is in charge may lead to an implicit power hierarchy.</p> Evronia Azer Yingqin Zheng G. Harindranath Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11162 LAYERS OF “NETWORKED PRIVACY”: CONTEXT COLLAPSES ACROSS RELATIONS, TECHNOLOGIES, INSTITUTIONS, AND DATA https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11164 <p>This paper identifies different layers of “networked privacy," expanding the original concept's focus on (1) networked relations (Marwick and boyd, 2014) to further include (2) networked technologies, (3) networked institutions, and (4) networked data. It teases out various moments of “collision of information norms” or “context collapse” (Marwick and boyd, 2014, p. 1054), which complicate privacy and regulations thereof in recent years. As we are at a critical juncture where information norms are being enshrined in different parts of the world including the EU's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) in the U.S., understanding complex layers of context collapses can shed light on the legal grey areas that would need further examination. This study investigated the U.S. news coverage on digital privacy between January 2018 and June 2020 to explore any layers/moments of “context collapses” with regard to privacy. I conducted a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) (Fairclough, 2013), closely examining 300 samples out of 5,874 articles. Rethinking the framework of “networked privacy,” I argue, can help us ensure the "similar minimum levels of privacy" (Regan, 1996) across networked relations, technologies, institutions, and data in the current digital era.</p> Sophia Jeeyun Baik Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11164 THE POLITICS OF DELETION IN THE BREXIT DEBATE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11166 <p>Literature on influence operations has identified metrics that are indicative of social media manipulation, but few studies have explored the lifecycle of low-quality information. We contribute to this literature by reconstructing nearly 3M messages posted by 1M users in the last days of the Brexit referendum campaign. While previous studies have found that on average only 4% of tweets disappear, we found that 33% of the tweets leading up to the referendum vote are no longer available. Only about half of the most active accounts that tweeted the referendum continue to operate publicly and 20% of all accounts are no longer active. We tested whether partisan content was more likely to disappear and found more messages from the Leave campaign that disappeared than the entire universe of tweets affiliated with the Remain campaign. We compare these results with a set of 45 hashtags posted in the same period and find that political campaigns present much higher ratios of user and tweet decay. These results are validated by inspecting 2M Brexit-related tweets posted over a period of nearly 4 years. The article concludes with an overview of these findings and recommendations for future research.</p> Marco Bastos Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11166 CHUDI (BANGLES), BINDI, AUR HIJAB WILL BRING ALONG INQUILAB (REVOLUTION): ANTI-PATRIARCHY WITHIN ANTI-FASCIST MOVEMENTS AND THE DESIRE FOR A NEW POLITICAL IN INDIA https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11167 <p>This paper looks at discursive interventions online and protests against political and social injustices against women in India within wider protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (December 2019 - present). In attempting to classify some modes of publicness on digital media platforms that are prevalent amongst women resisting the oppressions of living under an authoritarian regime that overlaps with patriarchal structures, this paper explores the radical potential of spheres of affect that challenge representative authority and questions “who” has the right to construct the political. Drawing on theoretical approaches from Berlant (2008, 2011) and Fraser (2007, 2020), I discuss discourses emerging around women’s experiences whilst theorising the potential that feminist movements might possess to forge transnational solidarity. This paper employs digital ethnography on Twitter, as well as discourse analysis. Instead of utilising the more popular hashtag-analysis or keyword search methods used to study social movements and online cultures, I conduct a qualitative longitudinal analysis of user-timelines. In contrast to studies that measure the impact of digitally mediated activism, I highlight the work involved in constructing these transnational publics through an accurate prediction or ‘knowing’ of others within affective public spaces, as well as in strategic performances of belonging and citizenship.</p> Maitrayee Basu Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11167 INFORMATION ACTIVISM IN THE FIRST DIGITAL COPYRIGHT DECADE: A CASE STUDY OF THE DIGITAL FUTURE COALITION, 1996-2002 AND THE INTERNET THAT NEARLY WAS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11169 <p>The Digital Future Coalition (1996-2002), was an unprecedented public interest coalition on Internet and copyright policy, with much farther-ranging effects than has been recognized previously. Uniting commercial and noncommercial stakeholders to push back against IP maximalism on the nascent Internet, it altered both treaty and legislative language, blocked U.S. copyright protection for databases, enhanced popular engagement with fair use and set the stage for the “Right to Repair” movement. This historical research was accomplished primarily by interviewing representatives of the DFC and opposing groups, as well as one ex-government official, and by consulting a hitherto untapped, private archive of documents relevant to the history of the DFC. We consider our topic within contexts in three areas: the history of the formation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA;) public interest coalition characteristics in communication; and the political roles of coalitions. In this article, we accept the assessment of the DMCA as legislation that both foreclosed options for the Internet’s development and created an enduring regime to protect copyright monopolies on the Internet. However, we argue that a closer look at the DFC’s actions, goals and long-range effects can reposition that coalition productively in the history. Such repositioning helps to understand how different the DMCA today is from the originally-proposed policy and the implications of those differences. Finally a detailed accounting of the DFC’s dynamics and tactics may prove instructive in assessing the efficacy of contemporary information activist groups.</p> Bryan Bello Patricia Aufderheide Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11169 WHOSE SHAREDPLANS? SCRIPTS, COLLABORATION, AND FEMINIST AI RESEARCH https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11170 <p>This paper examines a network of women in AI research who together expanded the range of methodologies and disciplines usually included in AI in the 1980s and 1990s. In particular, Barbara Grosz and Candace Sidner’s concept of $2 offered a way to model conversational context and collaboration in multi-agent AI environments. Drawing on archival work, interviews, conference proceedings, white papers, and departmental reports, I consider the cultural, institutional, and intellectual forces that shaped this network and their research. Using a technofeminist framework (Wajcman 2004; Haraway 1990) and borrowing from Michelle Murphy’s (2012) concept of protocol feminism, this paper examines their “feminist AI protocol.” I outline on one hand an assemblage of techniques, values, methods, and practices that illustrate a protocol rooted in community, interdisciplinarity, and care; these researchers formalized human-computer dialogue as fundamentally collaborative, grounding their approach in the diverse goals and desires of real users. I argue their philosophy of “language as action” mirrors ideas circulating in feminist and critical STS simultaneously. On the other hand, this network of researchers did so from within a particular set of cultural and epistemological parameters of their computer science departments. The research practices of this network offer an opportunity to consider the limits of any feminist AI protocol without a deeper commitment to feminist epistemologies. There remains an urgent need to reflect on how to build feminist AI technologies that make room for and include many different standpoints.</p> Rachel Bergmann Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11170 MOVE, EAT, SLEEP, REPEAT: RHYTHMIC STRUGGLES IN PROACTIVE SELF-TRACKING PRACTICES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11171 <p>In this paper, we trace the rhythmicities of activity tracking by applying the method of technograhical collaborative autoethnography (cf. Bucher, 2012; Chang, Hernandez &amp; Ngunjiri, 2012). The focus is on on proactive self-tracking that has become a proliferating digital media practice involving the gathering of data about the body and one’s everyday patterns of being outside the context of clinical health care. In the paper, we address the gap that still exists in research of exploring the mechanisms by and through which the human-technology attachments operate in practice. Drawing from a new materialist understanding of media technologies combined with Lefebvrian rhytmanalysis, we focus on the rhythmic aspects of self-tracking by asking how specific self-tracking devices and interfaces attract and prescribe repetition, rhythms, beats, pulses, and cycles into everyday lives. In so doing, we elaborate how human bodies and technical systems of self-tracking interact rhythmically. The analysis sheds light on the rhythms and beats that we interpret as illustrations of the ’technological unconscious’ (Thrift &amp; French, 2002). We bring our observations in dialogue with the contemporary critical arguments pointing to the design of products that are made as addictive as possible in the race for ‘hijacking minds’ and capturing attention. Our research contributes empirically to the lack of research that has systematically examined these seductive and yet controlling properties of software, and complements the theory of rhythmanalysis with theorization on the hierarchical organisation of rhythms and related power dynamics in the digital context.</p> Harley Bergroth Minna Saariketo Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11171 TIKTOK AND THE “ALGORITHMIZED SELF”: A NEW MODEL OF ONLINE INTERACTION https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11172 <p>Since its release in 2017, the video sharing app TikTok has been downloaded 1.5 billion times. While its popularity has been attributed to the abundance of celebrity users, its interactive features, and its short, palatable video length, it has been the subject of relatively few academic studies. This project employs the walkthrough method to examine TikTok within the context of identity negotiation and self-representation on social media. More specifically, it seeks to understand whether TikTok follows a precedent set by other Social Networking Sites which support users self-representing via sociability “to the network, via the network”; i.e. by interacting within the affordances of the platform, which may include sharing, liking, commenting, etc (Papacharissi, 2013). This model ostensibly offers users a stage where they may display their individuality and curate content that reflects their personal interests. By regularly using the app for a period of a month and collecting extensive field notes, screenshots, and video recordings, we found that TikTok’s version of sociality differs from that offered by other SNSs. While other sites purport to be a tool with which users may represent their identities, TikTok does away with this conceit by engendering a mode of sociality (through its design features and affordances) in which the crux of interaction is not between users and their social network, but between a user and what we call an “algorithmized” version of self. This finding has the potential to enrich and complicate the discourse surrounding online identity formation and sociality.</p> Aparajita Bhandari Sara Bimo Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11172 'DON'T CREATE AN ONLINE IMAGE THAT YOU CAN'T KEEP UP OUTSIDE': MEDIATING INVISIBLE COMMUNICATIVE DISABILITIES ON SOCIAL NETWORK SITES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11173 <p>The internet theoretically offers a socially inclusive space for disabled users and new forms of visibility vis-à-vis mediated communication. However, the prevalent perception of the internet as an idyllic space that liberates disabled people reflects an ableist mindset, as it views departure from the disabled body as the source of liberation. This paper challenges this perception by investigating how people with invisible disabilities that are clinically related to communication mediate their disabled life experience in Social Networking Sites (SNS). To this end, the study probed, through thematic analysis, 31 in-depth interviews with high-functioning autistics, stutterers and hard of hearing SNS users and 7 SNS documentation use diaries. The analysis identified a gamut of disability performances online, which varied based on one's perception of the disability and its visibility. For example, while some interviewees crafted a complex online persona that presented their disabilities through a nuanced perspective, others felt compelled to ‘pass’ as able-bodied. Many felt that their self-presentation was inhibited by a sense of social surveillance, imposed by the presence of friends from “the offline world”. The notion of “authenticity” posed another barrier for many interviewees: Sensing an expectation that their communicative style on SNS align with their physical communication led them to ironically adopt a less true-to-self persona by managing the visibility of their disability online to reflect their 'offline' constraints. Rather than providing an accessible and/or liberating sphere, this paper argues that social networking sites reproduce the ableist biases and power structures that underline the physical, “offline” sphere.</p> Nomy Bitman Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11173 VOICES FROM THE LOCKER ROOM: A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF VOICE MESSAGES WITHIN ITALIAN NSFW GROUPS. https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11174 <p>The growing use of messaging apps group chats is defining a new geography of unsearchable digital conversations. Although these spaces often escape the range of internet research, because of the technical and ethical difficulties in extracting of large-scale data sets, they represent crucial contexts where new communication habits and cultural practices emerge. This paper aims to understand the use of voice messages in NSFW group chats, by looking at Telegram closed groups where pornographic contents are shared and commented. Since NSFW group chats are usually understood as prevalently anonymous contexts, the disclosure afforded by voices messages - particularly in terms of gender recognition - becomes worthy examining. More specifically, we ask: 1) What kind of interactions are enacted by voice messages? 2) What kind of self-disclosure is performed through voice messages? 3) Which challenges emerge in the moderation of voice messages? For this research, we are carrying out a qualitative content analysis of voice messages combined with in-depth interviews with groups' moderators. Preliminary results suggest some circumstances that lead users to prefer using voice messages over text, gifs and static images. Contingent (not being able to text) or literacy-related reasons appear less important than the need to establish affective inclusion and identification through one's own voice.</p> Giovanni Boccia Artieri Stefano Brilli Elisabetta Zurovac Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11174 ENCODED EMOTIONS: RACE, AFFECT, AND POLITICS OF BELONGING IN ELECTION-RELATED SOCIAL MEDIA https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11175 <p>Within our over-saturated digital media economy, the ultimatum of “attracting eyeballs” and attention has resulted in sophisticated new practices and technologies for exploiting and capitalizing on emotions. Tech companies and right-wing media ecosystems have mastered strategies of "hacking emotional attention" in the "race to the bottom of the brainstem” (Bosker 2016)--indeed, firms like Cambridge Analytica and Facebook are clearly winning this race. Scholars increasingly address crises related to the attention economy, social media and political polarization, and far-right exploitation of media ecosystems. Yet very little scholarship systematically explores the political function of emotional expression within attention economies; to date there are few mixed-methods studies engaging feminist critical studies of emotion with political communications and social media. To better understand the "affective politics of information warfare," this talk presents findings from a research project (2019-2021) exploring how emotions circulate in social media and inflame online debate related to racial and national belonging. We integrate critical feminist studies of emotion and affect, with a cross-platform, comparative study of Twitter, Reddit and YouTube comments in the context of the 2019 Canadian and 2020 U.S. federal elections. The talk outlines divergent functions of anger expressed by diverse Canadian political groups regarding hypocrisy within debates surrounding Trudeau's "blackface" scandals, Scheer's "American identity," and post-election "wexit" debates. This presentation outlines challenges faced in mixed-methods study of emotion, as well as our innovative use of affective computing alongside discourse analysis to understand the role of emotional expression in social media platforms.</p> megan boler Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 BULLYING IN CON/FFLATING SPACES – WHY A ‘SPACE’ PERSPECTIVE MATTERS FOR UNDERSTANDING YOUNG PEOPLE’S EXPERIENCES AND PRACTICES OF BULLYING https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11176 <p>There is an urgent need for the currently mostly disparate and quantitative research on traditional or cyberbullying, to not only take note of each other, but also to analyse the interdependences, intersections and conflation of bullying in digital and offline spaces in a more comprehensive manner. More recent conceptualisations of ‘space’ offer valuable contributions to a reflection upon the epistemological and related methodological considerations when seeking to understand the lifeworlds, practices and experiences of young people involved in bullying. In this sense, we have recently advanced the concept of “cON/FFlating situational spaces and places” (Bork-Hüffer and Yeoh 2017: 93) in an attempt to integrate existing algorithmic, (post-)feminist and relational perspectives to the analysis of bullying (cf. Bork-Hüffer et al. 2020). We ask: Whether and how does bullying in physical and digital spaces intersect in school contexts? We applied narratives produced by young people themselves in Austria with the objective to let them speak with their own voice when describing their experiences and involvement with (cyber)bullying. Even when bullying practices themselves seemed to be restricted to digital spaces, they are still entangled within the spatialities of participants’ relations, practices, identities and life-worlds that stretch across inseparable socio-material and technological spheres. The results reflect how the ontogenesis of socio-technological developments shapes the opportunities for, types of, frequencies and harshness of bullying attacks.</p> Tabea Bork-Hueffer Belinda Mahlknecht Katja Kaufmann Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11176 EXTENDING GAMING DEMAND: SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCES OF COGNITIVE, EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, AND SOCIAL VIDEOGAMING REQUIREMENTS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11177 <p>Videogames directly involve players as co-creators of on-screen events, and this interactivity is assumed to be a core source of their attraction as a successful entertainment medium. Although interactivity is an inherent property of the videogame, it is variably perceived by the end user—for some users, perceived as a more demanding process, taxing their already-limited attentional resources. At least four such demands have been explicated in extant literature: cognitive (making sense of game logics/tasks), emotional (affective responses to game events/outcomes), physical (managing controller inputs and interfaces), and social (responding to human/nonhuman in-game others). Past work has reported empirical support of these concepts through validation of closed-ended survey metrics (e.g., Video Game Demand Scale). The current study challenges and extends the demand concept through an analysis of players’ own language when describing videogame demands in short essays about gaming experiences—critical given that people may experience a phenomenon in ways not accounted for in deductive data approaches. A secondary analysis of qualitative data made freely available by VGDS authors revealed both convergence with and divergence from prior work. Comporting with VGDS, cognitive demands are mostly experienced by players as ludic concerns and physical demands are mostly experienced in relation to handheld controller perceptions. Diverging from VGDS, players’ emotional demands represented both basic and complex emotional states, and social demands manifest different depending on whether or not the social “other” is human or non-human: humans are considered demanding on interpersonal terms, whereas non-humans are considered demanding as personified evocative objects.</p> Nicholas David Bowman Jaime Banks Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11177 THE RIGHT TO THE CITY AND DATA PROTECTION: COMPLEMENTARY FOR DEVELOPING CITIZEN-CENTRIC DIGITAL CITIES? https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11178 <p>In digital cities, urban space integrates physical and digital worlds. Information and communication technologies, often controlled by private companies, become ubiquitous, not least to capture and process (personal) data. While private governance can reconfigure public values and relations between public institutions and citizens, the question arises who decides what cities become, whose interests they serve. This paper presents ongoing research about the Right to the City (Lefebvre, 1968) and the right to personal data protection, guided by a social constructivist perspective and the methodological framework of actor-network-theory. As part of a four-year research track, we conducted an empirical cross-case analysis of urban data processing projects affected by the GDPR. The aim was to answer the question of how ‘users’ of cities can be represented meaningfully in processes that shape cities by means of those two rights. To do so, we interviewed people directly involved in Belgian ‘smart’ city projects. The main results of this research show that the two rights can be complementary in fostering agency and protecting citizen interests in technologically enhanced, citizen-centric cities. Data protection impacts smart city developments, but true agency of citizens as in the Right to the City remains limited. We will discuss why especially interdisciplinary research is required to further understanding in this complex, cross-domain environment and to lower barriers to citizen inclusion in practice.</p> Jonas Breuer Jo Pierson Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11178 MATERIAL ENTANGLEMENTS OF COMMUNITY SURVEILLANCE & INFRASTRUCTURAL POWER https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11179 <p>Through the case study of Amazon Ring's cameras, this paper explores the deepening material and discursive alliance between public and private institutions in the building of digital infrastructures that support the development of community surveillance. The analysis reveals a complex supply-chain network entangled with histories of settler-colonialism, racialization and gendered inequities. Bolstered by developments in cloud computing, concealing the human and nonhuman supply-chains, these systems are never detached from material inputs; rather, they are embedded in vast infrastructural systems and complex transnational supply chains powered by logics of extraction, circulation and accumulation of capital. I argue that Amazon Ring cameras are an articulation of “infrastructural power” defined by Laleh Khalili (2018: 915) as an assemblage of “practices, discourses, physical fixtures, laws and procedures” with the aim of (re)producing capitalist relations. Through a material and discursive analysis, this paper aims to draw into the light the complex human and non-human entanglements that constitute community surveillance networks in order to move towards an infrastructural critique so that we may more effectively evaluate the social costs of digital systems that can never be detached from their material and human creators.</p> Lauren E. Bridges Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11179 "GOOD SOCIAL MEDIA?": UNDERREPRESENTED YOUTH PERSPECTIVES ON THE ETHICAL AND EQUITABLE DESIGN OF SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11180 <p>This study investigates underrepresented youths’ perspectives on social media design and how these may inform the development of more ethical and equitable social media apps. In contrast to the tradition of universal design in the field of human-computer interaction, this research centers difference to investigate how users’ perspectives and expectations, shaped by their identities, help determine the affordances of social media and their ethical implications. Twenty-five in-depth interviews and youth-guided “think aloud” social media tours were carried out with a diverse range of young people from underrepresented groups. Findings illustrate how young people perceive and experience empowering and disempowering aspects of social media design. Interviewees expressed a palpable sense of underrepresentation in the digital technology design sector and noted several ways in which design elements of social media can exacerbate a sense of inadequacy. The negative implications of user profile design and popularity rating systems that encourage conformity were found to be of particular concern for low-income youth, youth of color, and other underrepresented groups. However, our findings also illuminate youth perceptions on how social media can sometimes serve as a tool to counter negative stereotypes and build social capital. The analysis includes concrete suggestions from underrepresented youth for more ethical and equitable social media design.</p> Melissa Brough Ioana Literat Amanda Ikin Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11180 DETECTION ALGORITHMS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR PARTICIPATION: THE CASE OF MASHUPS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11181 <p>‘Mashup’ is a form of music that, in its use of samples from existing popular music recordings, has often been seen as an exemplar of the participatory cultural environment that many expected the internet to foster. It is a musical form that remains widely produced and consumed today. However, the contemporary internet is a complex environment for media distribution, with dominant platforms making use of a wide range of automatic and algorithmic regulatory tools in order to police, monitor, and remove unwelcome content – including that which is seen, rightly or wrongly, as copyright infringing. Drawing on recent empirical research on and with mashup producers – including 30 semi-structured interviews and an extensive survey (n=92) – this article explores the impact of platform regulation on mashup music today. It concludes that current regulation has significant stifling effects on this kind of remix creativity, including a substantial impact on where mashup producers distribute their music, on the aesthetics of their music, and – most pertinently – on their overall motivation to create. Having outlined these key findings, we argue that the ‘shutdown’ status of mashup producers raises profound questions concerning the balance between regulating online content in terms of protecting the artists’ rights, and cultivating participation and culturally valuable artistic expression. As such, this paper offers a timely contribution to scholarship on the complex relationship between popular music and new media in its critical exploration of internet’s detection algorithms and their implications for mashup music and cultural participation more generally.</p> Ragnhild Brøvig-Hanssen Ellis Jones Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11181 TOWARDS THEORIES OF DIGITAL WELL-BEING https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11182 <p>How can we live a good life both thanks to and despite the constant use of digital media? The presented framework describes the nature of and connections between three relevant phenomena – digital media practices, harms/benefits, and well-being – and creates a blueprint for explanatory theories.</p> Moritz Büchi Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11182 ALGORITHMIC LEGAL METRICS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11184 <p>Predictive algorithms are increasingly being deployed in a variety of settings to determine legal status. Further applications have been proposed to determine civil and criminal liability or to “personalize” legal default rules. Deployment of such artificial intelligence systems has properly raised questions of algorithmic bias, fairness, transparency, and due process. But little attention has been paid to the known sociological costs of using predictive algorithms to determine legal status. Many of these interactions are socially detrimental, and such corrosive effects are greatly amplified by the increasing speed and ubiquity of digitally automated algorithmic systems. In this paper I link the sociological and legal analysis of AI, highlighting the reflexive social processes that are engaged by algorithmic metrics. Specifically, this paper shows how the problematic social effects of algorithmic legal metrics extend far beyond the concerns about accuracy that have thus far dominated critiques of such metrics. It additionally demonstrates that corrective governance mechanisms such as enhanced due process or transparency will be inadequate to remedy such corrosive effects, and that some such remedies, such as transparency, may actually exacerbate the worst effects of algorithmic governmentality. Third, the paper shows that the application of algorithmic metrics to legal decisions aggravates the latent tensions between equity and autonomy in liberal institutions, undermining democratic values in a manner and on a scale not previously experienced by human societies. Illuminating these effects casts new light on the inherent social costs of AI metrics, particularly the perverse effects of deploying algorithms in legal systems.</p> Dan Burk Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11184 THE EVOLUTION OF FACEBOOK'S GRAPH API https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11185 <p>Facebook’s application programming interfaces (APIs) enable third-party app developers to access data and functionality and have become central to many of the platform’s ongoing data scandals and privacy concerns. Understanding how the platform and its APIs evolve and how it responds to issues requires looking closely and empirically at the evolution of access points, data structures, and graph data structures. The technicity of APIs is crucial for understanding the politics of data sharing and how APIs represent and structure phenomena and temporarily stabilise them. Instead of using APIs as an umbrella term for data retrieval, we conduct historical “technical fieldwork” for examining the evolving architecture and interfaces of Facebook’s web APIs. We contribute an in-depth technical and empirical perspective on the evolution of Facebook’s Graph API since 2006, and how it evolved into one of the most significant web APIs and an integral part of contemporary advertising infrastructures and web development cultures. Our empirical historical analysis of Facebook’s Graph API is based on the entire corpus of available archived developer documentation held by the Internet Archive. As we show, key changes in the Graph API evolution are characterized by phases of experimentation, standardization, commercialization, and regulation. We provide a “scalable reading” of the evolution of Facebook’s Graph API which provides insights in how data and data flows are governed through changes in data structures and permissions. By considering the evolving structures of APIs and individual data objects, we may develop further empirically informed critiques of platforms, APIs, and their data.</p> Marcus Burkhardt Anne Helmond Tatjana Seitz Fernando van der Vlist Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11185 MORAL ECONOMIES OF OPEN DATA PLATFORMS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11186 <p>Municipal open data platforms are currently caught in a range of tensions. They rely on an unspecified subject to analyze the data, and yet are surrounded by discourses of "empowerment" and "transparency". They are often most beneficient when approached with data science skills, yet often entail unremunerated digital labor. And they are often engaged by organizations tacking "for Social Good" onto their mandate - the Canada-wide organization Data for Good being a key example. To date, STS research has generated important insights into the political economies of data and platforms that highlight the ways they produce, mediate, circulate, and accumulate surplus and exchange value. Less attention has been devoted to understanding the ways moral values and sentiments are deployed to attract the digital volunteered labor subtending municipal open data platform usage. Those who mobilize these moral economies are deeply situated within capitalist platform economies, and benefit from the free labor of those wishing to improve their communities. In this presentation, we argue that hackathons, datathons, and open data platforms are constituted through moral economies that are entangled within technoscientific capitalist accumulation practices and logics. These moral economies are key ways in which digital labor is procured, and represent a core component of what Boltanski and Chiapello call the "new spirit of capitalism". To substantiate our argument, we draw on an ongoing long-term ethnography into Calgary, Alberta's open data ecosystem. We conclude by politicizing the fissures of these moral economies, to identify the new political strategies that they necessitate.</p> Ryan Burns Preston Welker Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11186 LIFE WITH DICK AND DICK: RACE AND MALE PORNOGRAPHIC SELF-REPRESENTATION ON REDDIT https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11187 <p>This paper broadly focuses on the sharing of male pornographic self-representation (PSR) on the Reddit forum, Massive Cock. Our previous study examined how gay-straight relations are recoded on the forum. Drawing on new data currently being collected, we focus on the operation and intersection of racialized masculinities as afforded by hybrid networked technologies, platforms, and screens. Based on preliminary data collection and analysis, we argue that Massive is a space of unmarked whiteness, with a paucity of racialized dick pics. We discuss the ways in which the less than 10 percent of posters of colour mark out their racialized identities, including through the mobilization of the problematic trope of the BBC (“big black cock”), with its roots in interracial pornography. We also examine the ways in which a much smaller number of racialized men, who are not black, mark out their racial/ethnic identity. Finally we look at the few white men who draw attention to their race through appropriation of the BBC discourse as BWC ("big white cock"). Taken together it is clear that Massive is a “fraternity of the [white] cock” (Waugh, 2004) but it is one that is disrupted and unsettled by the presence of racialized PSR.</p> Rhiannon Bury Lee Easton Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11187 PAYING RESPECTS, STREAMING AFFECT: ELECTION DAY 2016 AT SUSAN B. ANTHONY'S GRAVESITE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11188 <p>On U.S. Election Day 2016, thousands of people gathered at Susan B. Anthony’s grave in Rochester, NY. They were there to commemorate Anthony’s women’s suffrage activism over a century prior and to celebrate the presidential candidacy of Hilary Clinton, the first woman nominated by a major U.S. American political party. A thirteen-hour livestream of the gravesite by a local journalist captured the unprecedented crowd at the cemetery and drew a much larger crowd online. In the hours before election results were announced, the livestream gained millions of viewers and thousands of comments. While existing research has begun to examine the complex relationship between personal and collective memory, memorialization, and social media, less attention has been devoted to the ways that history and politics become tools for users and professionals to represent themselves. I examine the gravesite livestream as an illustrative case study of the ways that actors with different levels of access and control over a media event use commemoration as a vehicle for political self-representation. I conducted a textual analysis of the entire livestream, including the video and comment feeds. Through the analysis, I traced how four actors built upon a shared collective vision of U.S. American women’s history and future to contribute to the livestream and find themselves within it, including the city mayor’s office, gravesite visitors, the journalist who captured the stream, and commenters. Ultimately, I suggest that in commemorating women’s historical political action, these self-representational narratives present livestream creators, viewers, and subjects as political actors.</p> Chelsea Paige Butkowski Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11188 ACTIVIST BROWSER EXTENSIONS AS INTERFACE DÉTOURNEMENT: REMINDING, COPING, AND INFRASTRUCTURAL ALIGNMENT https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11189 <p>This paper investigates web browser extensions as an under-researched media object for their capacity for activism. “Activist extensions” disrupt a webpage’s intended use and redirect users’ attention to social issues by modifying textual, visual, or auditory elements of the web user interface. The relevance of the study stems from the ubiquity of the web browser as a communication tool and the potential of browser extensions to counter its power in shaping how web content is delivered to users. Based on the notions of transduction and affordance, the critical vocabulary of the Situationist International, and the conceptualization of platform governance through the provision of infrastructural services, this paper asks: Through what mechanism do activist extensions redirect users’ attention to social issues? What are the potential implications for users? And, how can browser platforms affect the creation and distribution of activist extensions? The study adopts a mixed-methods approach that includes discursive interface analysis of the extensions’ modification of the browser interface, critical discourse analysis of user comments on these extensions, and semi-structured interviews with extension developers. Major findings of the study include: 1) the redirection of users’ attention from the webpage to social issues is achieved through the mechanism of $2 , 2) activist extensions function as $2 that provides users with a coping mechanism against certain online rhetoric, and 3) the creation and distribution of activist extensions are conditioned by an $2 imposed by the browser platform on extension developers.</p> Tiancheng Cao Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11189 DEEPFAKES: A PRELIMINARY SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11190 <p>Deepfakes are becoming a key topic in debates around politics and misinformation on the internet today. While the phenomenon of deepfakes is relatively new with the first documented public appearances recorded in 2017, there is already a growing scholarly literature about deepfakes and the various methods that can be used to help understand and combat them. This paper presents a preliminary systematic review of the academic literature on deepfakes. We assessed a representative sample (N=1049) of sources from four popular electronic databases, including Google Scholar, Scopus, Crossref, and Web of Science. We then coded those articles according to academic subject, theoretical approach, and theme.</p> Laura Carvajal Andrew Iliadis Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11190 GUERILLA CAPITALISM AND THE PLATFORM ECONOMY: GOVERNING UBER IN CHINA, TAIWAN, AND HONG KONG https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11192 <p>Platform firms, such as Uber and Airbnb, are emerging economic actors that aim at re-organizing the economic sectors they enter through challenging existing regulatory frameworks politically. While most studies focus on how platform firms’ political playbooks operate in European and North American democratic contexts, we know less about the regulatory and contestatory stories in non-Western and non-democratic contexts. This study aims to fill this lacuna by examining the governance of Uber in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The three diverse political systems provide a comparative basis to how Uber's political playbook works in authoritarian (China), semi-authoritarian (Hong Kong), and democratic (Taiwan) systems, respectively. We introduce the concept of “guerilla capitalism” to describe how platform firms attempt to make a profit through exploiting legal grey zones or openly violating established laws. We present a critical discourse analysis of Uber’s public marketing materials, news coverage about Uber, and government reports about ride-hailing in the three cases. Our analysis illustrates (1) the convergent discursive and political strategies Uber employed to legitimize its business to change the law and (2) the divergent and contextual factors that lead to different regulatory outcomes. We argue that Uber’s operative logic lies at the swift accumulation of a large number of politically mobilizable customers and the formation of political coalitions with their customers; however, governmental responses to Uber's political playbook vary with regulatory contexts. Such an operative logic may re-shape power-relations in different political trajectories. This study affords significant opportunities for thinking about the comparative politics of platformization.</p> Ngai Keung Chan Chi Kwok Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11192 LIFE, CULTURE AND SUBJECTIVITY IN THE SOFTWARE INDUSTRY: THE DISCOURSE OF “FULL SELFHOOD” AMONG TECH PROFESSIONALS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11193 <p>The push for tech companies to incorporate fun and leisure at work as seen in games rooms, health and wellness, and onsite exercise facilities encourages employees in the industry to celebrate work as a core aspect of their subjectivities, and purports to create space for them to bring their “full selves” to professional spaces. Yet, while the individuals I studied were often called to be their “full selves” in the online and offline settings of their places of work and throughout the broader industry, this could be a frustrating discourse, in particular for those who were underrepresented. In the present paper I investigate the industry discourse around “full selfhood” alongside an analysis of how individuals working in the sector negotiated this discourse. I ask how the relation between subjectivity and culture may serve to reproduce or challenge inequities within the sector. Relatedly, I argue that in professional software contexts, performing subjectivity can be an exhaustive process that involves continuous assessment, further complexifying how to perform the “full self.” Additionally, the discourse of “full selfhood” exists within spaces dominated by privileged identities, and in which “ideal” subjectivities often correspond to these positionalities. Thus, the “full selfhood” discourse can lead to tensions surrounding the subjectivities individuals are called to have, and those they are able to take up and sustain, bringing political consequences centered on the self.</p> Vanessa Ciccone Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11193 FOLLOW THE MONEY: A LARGE-SCALE INVESTIGATION OF MONETIZATION AND OPTIMIZATION ON YOUTUBE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11194 <p>While YouTube has become a dominant actor in the global media system, the relationship between platform, advertisers, and content creators has seen a series of conflicts around the question of monetization. Our paper draws on a critical media industries perspective to investigate the relationship between YouTube’s evolving platform strategies on the one side and content creators’ tactical adaptations on the other. This concerns the search for alternative revenue streams as well as content and referencing optimization seeking to grow audiences and algorithmic visibility. Drawing on an exhaustive sample (n=153.770) of “elite” channels (more than 100.000 subscribers) and their full video history (n=138.340.337), we parse links in video descriptions to investigate the appearance and spread of crowdfunding platforms like Patreon, but also of affiliate links, merchandise stores, or e-commerce websites like Etsy. We analyze the evolution of video length and posting frequency in response to platform policy as well as visibility tactics such as metadata and category optimization, keyword stuffing, or title phrasing. Taken together, these elements provide a broad picture of “industrialization” on YouTube, that is, of the ways creators seek to develop their channels into media businesses. While this contribution cannot replace more qualitative, in-depth research into particular channels or channel groups, we hope to provide a representative picture of YouTube’s elite channels and their quest for visibility and success from their beginnings up to early 2020.</p> Oscar Coromina Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández Bernhard Rieder Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11194 DISPLACED DISCUSSION: THE IMPLICATIONS OF REDDIT QUARANTINE AND THE MOVEMENT OF THEREDPILL TO SELF-HOSTING https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11195 <p>Reddit.com is a social media site with huge volumes and varieties of content, both hosted on their platform, and imported from other providers. It is also a place of counterpublic community action. Sub-Reddits like r/the_donald, and r/theredpill expound, in turn, alt-right and anti-feminist views. Along with various posts, links, and outside content, the communities support millions of words of user discussion. These communities are policed, at least in part, by their exposure to the community at large, and push-back from other people and groups to their content. When a community sees that its action on a site like Reddit is limited, and perceives that its ideas and ideologies are being silenced, what happens? This paper uses data from a digital ethnography of r/TheRedPill, a sub-community of Reddit dedicated to “discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men.” The community was quarantined by Reddit in September of 2018, and since that time has engaged in regular discussion about the movement of community discussion and forums away from Reddit to their own hosting site www.trp.red. Beyond simply allowing versus limiting speech, the case of r/TheRedPill provides an opportunity to engage in a discussion about whether progressive sanction is the right way to manage the intersection of counterpublic views with the needs of tech firms. This paper hopes to further that discussion using a community that is less generally associated with hate speech, and can therefore exist on the margins of acceptability.</p> Luc S. Cousineau Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11195 TWITTERING RESEARCH, CALLING OUT AND CANCELING CULTURES: A STORY AND SOME QUESTIONS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11197 <p>This is an analysis of how Twitter played a significant, agentive and accountable role in the difficult birth and premature unravelling of a government-funded international feminist research network. We situate this case study and this process of initiation and annihilation within the broader context within which social media platforms are a critical site of intensive affective discursive practices through which individual and institutional reputations can be made and unmade, frequently with far reaching professional and or personal consequences. To date there has been little academic study of both the broader implications of the potential benefits of social media for academic networking and the perils. Two data sets are analyzed comparatively, the first, detailed written responses from an in-person workshop designed explicitly to gather feedback on the research network; the second a set of tweets that erupted over a number of days shortly after that event. Content analysis of both data sets shows the impact of a small, localized Twitter event on an international network of researchers, demonstrating the speed and thoroughness with which decades of research and collaboration can be undone, and raising larger questions about the sustainability of culturally precarious trajectories of work -- in this case feminist work -- within Twitter’s increasingly hegemonic media ecology.</p> Suzanne de Castell Helen W. Kennedy Sarah Atkinson Jennifer Jenson Colleen Thumlert Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11197 PLAYFUL MOBILITIES IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF POKÉMON GO PLAY BETWEEN RIO DE JANEIRO AND NAIROBI https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11198 <p>In 2016, the release of the location-based game, Pokémon Go, prompted millions of players worldwide to venture into the streets to catch digital creatures, known as Pokémon. Since then, Pokémon Go has received strong attention from the popular press and scholarly community, exploring considerations of mobility, sociability, commoditization, and safety risks as part of the game. However, most of this attention has focused on the game’s popularity in the Global North, failing to consider how issues of infrastructural access and development can shape experiences of play. To respond to this gap, we offer a study exploring how dense urban spaces within the Global South shape players’ experiences of Pokémon Go gameplay and, inversely, how Pokémon Go shapes players mobilities through these urban spaces. We consider the ludic mobilities of players in Nairobi, Kenya and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, two Global South cities with similar population and ICT adoption rates. We proceed by asking the research questions: How do considerations related to mobile access affect experiences of playing Pokémon Go, and, inversely, how does experience of the urban space shape players’ mediated mobilities? Findings reveal that mobilities in the Global South are often at odds with the ludic mobilities encouraged in Pokémon Go, as issues of violence, theft, traffic jams, and insecurity come to the fore. Consequently, this study offers important insights about the intersections of mobile devices, communication and transportation infrastructures, mobile gaming interfaces, and all the social and political aspects associated with urban mobilities in developing countries.</p> Adriana de Souza e Silva Ragan Glover-Rijkse Anne Njathi Daniela de Cunto Bueno Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 INVESTIGATING BOTS AND COORDINATED INFLUENCE CAMPAIGNS IN TWITTER DISCUSSIONS OF THE 2019-20 IRAN PROTESTS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11199 <p>Twitter has been a vital platform for organizing, coordinating, and amplifying voices during protests, especially in non-democratic countries. Although it is a globally used platform for protest movements, many studies focus on English-speaking and democratic countries. We overcome this research gap by investigating Persian, English, and Arabic tweets during the 2019-2020 protests in Iran. In this work-in-progress paper, we collected approximately 5,500,000 tweets, and apply social network analysis, Botometer and qualitative analysis, to map the Twittersphere revolving around Iran protests (RQ1). We focus on the evidence of the presence of bots, bot networks, coordinated misinformation campaigns and political astroturfing in the discussions (RQ2). Our preliminary results indicate the presence of strong homophilous networks of users formed around various political interests. At least two of the clusters in the network show an unusually high proportion of suspicious accounts. Interestingly, these clusters reflect antagonistic political affiliations—one consists mainly of pro-regime Iranian accounts, the other of anti-regime accounts tweeting in Arabic. The broader findings from this study will be valuable for understanding digital activism, protests, and political communication in authoritarian and semi-authoritarian contexts.</p> Ehsan Dehghan Brenda Moon Tobias Keller Timothy Graham Axel Bruns Daniel Angus Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11199 “TWO CAN PLAY AT THAT GAME”: COMMUNICATING DISSENT AS A MICRO-CELEBRITY IN A RESTRICTED NATIONAL TWITTERSPHERE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11200 <p>Turkey has a notoriously restricted Twittersphere where any explicit criticism towards the government can be framed as a criminal offence (Saka, 2018). However, despite the efforts to eradicate public expression of dissent on social media, Twitter remains as an essential space for political deliberation for Turkish dissidents (Dogu and Mat, 2019). This surveillance regime creates a necessity of engaging in political talk that remains under the radar. Especially, the accounts with higher visibility such as micro-celebrities suffer most scrutiny, whilst being important actors of information dissemination (Sanjari and Khazraee, 2014). In this paper, I analyse the evasion tactics used by dissenting Twitter micro-celebrities in navigating these restrictions. In order to do this, I specifically focus on micro-celebrity accounts by ordinary users who gained fame due to the humorous commentaries they offer on the daily events in Turkey. Without a claim for expertise or any exceptional ability beyond being avid observers of the social, cultural and political realities of life in Turkey, these accounts claim follower numbers that often exceed 30-40k and some reaching millions. This paper presents how these accounts express political criticism through a narration of everyday life and daily events by utilising platform specific cultural capital in formulating a language (Scott, 1990) that is understood by subgroups who are acclimated to the platform culture. I argue that these practices signal a change in the conventions of dissident political talk that relies on a perceived gap in platform cultural knowledge between the pro- and anti-government groups.</p> Naciye Ozlem Demirkol Tonnesen Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11200 THE UNCERTAIN DECORUM OF ONLINE IDENTIFICATION: A STUDY IN QUALITATIVE INTERVIEWS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11201 <p>This study explores the ethics and motivations of online identification—how and why people collect and publish identifying information about others online. In seven interviews, activists, Internet users, advocates, and journalists were asked about their investigative practice and how they viewed the ethics of deanonymization. Using ethnographic interviewing techniques and a thematic analysis inspired by grounded theory, I describe respondents’ investigations and compare them to existing theories in surveillance studies, online anonymity, and digital vigilantism. Respondents often struggled with making their work accessible and impactful in an ethical manner. They obfuscated irrelevant information that might incite online harassment and took care in who they collaborated with. The respondents also debated what to do when people misinterpreted their work or thought that they had acted unjustly. The precautions they incorporated into their publications are examples of how people navigate online ethics when there isn’t a clear standard for moral decisions. Ultimately, the interview results did not follow models of digital vigilantism and doxxing, and I caution against using those terms to apply to cases like those described in this study. I also make suggestions for how these results could augment theoretical models of anonymity, particularly how respondents’ investigative techniques and backgrounds lead them to different moral commitments.</p> Samuel DiBella Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11201 PRESENTING PERFECTION: CONSTRUCTING IDENTITY IN THE REHEARSAL STAGE OF ONLINE INTERACTION https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11202 <p>Social media platforms such as Facebook have been understood to present new possibilities for interaction. Yet, there have been concerns surrounding the reducing quality of our interaction and conversation. Such debates, however, have not considered the pre-post dimension of online environments: that is, the preparatory work that occurs to online posts before they are shared with their audience. Based on real time recordings of Facebook Messenger interactions, this paper asks what the pre-post perspective tells us about the quality of our interactions online. The analysis is theoretically informed by Goffman and methodologically by conversation analysis and addresses this question with a focus on processes of identity construction. Specifically, this paper questions how the practice of pre-post editing (the editing of messages before sending) is used by users to represent self online and what this then tells us about the quality of our online talk. In presenting innovative screen capture data, this paper argues against claims that our interaction online is declining in quality instead showing the ways users perfect their online posts by elaborating a new stage of online communication: the ‘rehearsal’ stage. In doing this, this work reflects on the wider implications the affordance of pre-post editing has on users’ social media experiences questioning the impacts constructing ‘perfect lives’ has and the potential for creating ‘reduced’ versions of self within our online interactions.</p> Hannah Ditchfield Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11202 POLICING "FAKE" FEMININITY: ANGER AND ACCUSATION IN INFLUENCER "HATEBLOG" COMMUNITIES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11204 <p>While social media influencers are held up in the popular imagination as self-enterprising cultural tastemakers, their requisite career visibility opens them up to intensified public scrutiny and, consequently, networked hate and harassment. Key repositories of such critique are influencer “hateblogs”—online spaces wherein anti-fans collectively police the activities of highly visible Instagrammers, YouTubers, and the like. This in-progress, mixed methods study brings together analyses of two “hateblog” communities: Get Off My Internets (GOMI) and the now-defunct Reblogging Donk (RBD), both of which targeted women social media personalities almost exclusively. Our analysis reveals an overarching critique of influencers' perceived duplicity or “fakery'' in the realms of parenting/domesticity, relationships, and personal appearance. Such accusations cast influencers as deceitful, avaricious, and lazy charlatans who unfairly profit off of ersatz performances of perfection. Yet as moral discourses (Gray, 2005), these critiques seem to dismantle the tropes of entrepreneurial femininity, suggesting a form of displaced anger. That is, while such expressions may be deployed in disavowal of individual performances of feminine-coded ideals, they are ostensibly rooted in broader sociocultural critiques connected to gendered expectations of authenticity, labor, and privilege. But while hatebloggers’ purport to disillusion us by exposing the artifice of social media, their expressions do little for progressive gender politics. We thus conclude by highlighting the limitations of this expressive act—one that seeks to liberate women from normative constraints while simultaneously engaging in gendered forms of symbolic violence.</p> Brooke Erin Duffy Kate Miltner Amanda Wahlstedt Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11204 FACELESS YOUTUBERS: HOW CONTENT CREATORS SHAPE AUDIENCE EXPECTATIONS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11205 <p>YouTube's maturation as a platform can be seen through a collection of social norms, audience expectations, and politics, all of which weave themselves into the technosocial fabric of digital life. As such, certain practices that regulate the flow of information have become normalized across a certain subset of YouTube channels. This paper will look at this practice among YouTubers that are “faceless”—content creators who do not reveal their faces on camera while voluntarily revealing many other aspects of their identity. Specifically, a content analysis is performed on these channels: The Lockpicking Lawyer, AvE, SteadyCraftin, This Old Tony, bigclivedotcom, CGP Grey, and fastASMR. The wide range of categories these channels belong to (DIY, self help, science and technology, home crafting, electrical appliance teardown, and audio therapy) indicates that choosing to remain faceless is not a function of a certain type of material, but rather a salient trend that crosscuts YouTube genres. The channels analyzed suggest that these YouTubers feel empowered through remaining faceless, allowing for increased disclosure about the topic at hand. They also demonstrate that Faceless YouTubers selectively share information depending on a range of motivations, all of which revolve around imparting meaningful content to specific audiences while maintaining a specifically-constructed notion of privacy. As a platform that is continually evolving,this paper represents an advance in the study of YouTube.</p> Ian Dunham Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11205 ILLUMINATI(NG) THE SEARCH PROCESS: THEORIZING THE RESEARCH PRACTICES OF "ALTERNATIVE" OR "CONTROVERSIAL" RESEARCH https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11206 <p>Previous scholarship has examined how conspiracy theories spread online; addressed the question of what conspiracy theorists believe and why; asked whether or not conspiracy theorizing is a reasonable form of sense-making; and characterized the socio-cultural effects of conspiracy theories. Yet, the research practices of those who explore topics that have been labeled “conspiracy theories,” remain under-examined and under-theorized. Existing at the convergence of three interdisciplinary areas of scholarship—the study of conspiracy theory/ies, information seeking and behavior (e.g., research practices), and archival studies--this project will present preliminary dissertation research. The data will come from in-depth, qualitative interviews with individuals who regularly conduct research into one of three topics: the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico, and the Missing 411 phenomenon. Interviews are semi-structured, addressing participants’ experiences of different modes of research: within a research community, in isolation (by themselves), and with the help of a reference archivist or librarian, among others that may emerge. This paper will also feature reflexive grounded theory analysis of my own feminist standpoint as a researcher and interviewer.</p> Yvonne Melisande Eadon Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11206 WATCHING THE WATCHDOG: ONLINE DISCOURSES ABOUT MEDIA FRAUDS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11207 <p>Media frauds often lead to lively public discussions about journalism’s professional identity and its social mandate. The paper uses the so-called Relotius case as a starting point for a systematic analysis of the responsibility of narrative journalists in an age of “fake news” and post-truth politics – and the question of how they can be held to account in the online realm. Claas Relotius counted as one of the most talented journalistic storytellers in the German-speaking world. In December 2018, however, the news magazine Der Spiegel revealed that he had fabricated many of his texts, either completely or partly. This revelation developed into one of the biggest German media scandals of the recent years and triggered a massive outcry, also in international media. A multi-method research design allows for a differentiated assessment of the Relotius case in particular and web-based media accountability processes in general: A literature review and problem-centered interviews with senior reporters demonstrate that stylistic devices of fiction have a long history in German narrative journalism – also in Spiegel magazine. A discourse analysis focusing on the public debate following the revelation of the scandal points out that many journalistic commenters, including Spiegel’s editorial board, displayed a clear lack of self-criticism in their discussion of the case, while non-professional watchbloggers broadened the scope of the analysis. The paper reflects the empirical results from a normative perspective, in order to illustrate the potentials and shortcomings of professional journalistic self-observation as opposed to external public control in online discourses.</p> Tobias Eberwein Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11207 SKIPPING DISCOVERY? MUSIC DISCOVERY AND PERSONAL MUSIC COLLECTIONS IN THE STREAMING ERA https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11209 <p>In this paper, I use Spotify as a case study to investigate user experiences of music exploration and discovery using streaming services and recommendation algorithms. Following the framing of music discovery as an affective response which allows for the categorization and definition of music, I draw upon qualitative data from Spotify users regarding their ephemeral experiences when exploring music using streaming services. I identify user practices of music archiving and collecting as a strategy to mitigate these transient encounters by slowing down the pace of their music consumption and creating enduring connections between music and their individual histories. In this way, personal music collections were found to support instances of music discovery as they created a listening context and user mindset which was sympathetic the affective definition and categorization of new music content. This investigation of collecting practice also revealed longitudinal perspectives on music discoveries which emerge through sustained listening over time, drawing attention to listener’s social surroundings, friends and online communities as the impetus for choosing to give particular music content time to grow towards being discovered. The paper concludes with implications of the use of algorithmic recommendation systems in the delivery and consumption of music and other cultural forms.</p> Jack Michael Ellis Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11209 CRIME INVESTIGATIONS OF ‘CHILD ABUSE MATERIAL’: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES POSED BY DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11210 <p>The increased digitalisation of society has profoundly changed the circumstances for people with a sexual interest in children to engage in the production, distribution and consumption of child abuse material. In addition, digital technologies enable contact and communication with other like-minded individuals sharing the same sexual interest in children and also facilitate new forms of getting in contact with children (potential victims). Child abuse material (sometimes also referred to as child pornography) refers to documented material depicting the sexual abuse and/or sexual exploitation of a child (or children). The overall purpose with this study is to explore the practices where crime investigations of child abuse material occur within the Swedish police authority. This research in progress paper will reflect on what challenges and opportunities police officers do encounter when investigating child abuse material in relation to digital technologies? The involved technology will be investigated in relation to technological affordance and empirically the study is based upon qualitative interviews with police officers.</p> Marie Eneman Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11210 MOONWALKING: TRACING REDDITORS’ DIGITAL MEMORY WORK ON MICHAEL JACKSON https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11211 <p>This paper investigates the memory work concerning Michael Jackson on the social content aggregation site Reddit. By means of their posts, comments and replies, people contributing to this site—Redditors—enter into a process we call the dynamics of mnemonic stabilization. This is a collaborative process in which networked individuals share their memories about, in this case, Michael Jackson. This process resembles Jackson’s dance technique called moonwalking: Redditors seem to go back in time, but they continually alter how Jackson is remembered and forgotten, depending on the (personal) context of the present and an imagined future. These theoretical observations are empirically assessed by a content analysis of mnemonic comments and replies (N=917) posted on the subreddit /r/MichaelJackson between June 25, 2009, and December 31, 2018. This revealed that most posts with a mnemonic dimension focus on personal memories of Michael Jackson’s music, performances and (perceived) positive characteristics</p> Marc Esteve Del Valle Rik Smit Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11211 THERE ARE MALE TEARS IN THAT COMMENT SECTION. THE DISCURSIVE NEGOTIATION OF MASCULINITY IN ITALIAN ONLINE MEN'S GROUPS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11212 <p>Despite the consolidation of works on the heterogeneous nature of the so-called Manosphere, a lot of these studies consider masculinity as an overall governing force of men’s behaviors. This is has led to overlooking how subject positioning is always negotiated in multiple and contradictory discourses that are not easily captured by structurally oriented frameworks such as hegemonic or toxic masculinity. By focusing on the recent third development in men’s critical studies of masculinity, this work seek to investigates the discursive construction of masculinity in digital environment, in order to identify the various resources, in the form of established repertoires, that men use to position themselves in relation to conventional discourses of the masculine, and how masculinity both impinges upon and is transformed by those practices. Using a qualitative methodology, we analyze the content of two Facebook Pages dedicated to men's rights issues, called Antisessismo (Antisexism) and Diritti Maschili – Equità e Umanità (Men’s rights – Equity and Humanity). Our findings suggest that in these groups, masculinity is rarely negotiated or discussed but it is assumed as a common sense, providing a basis for shared social understandings. However, there is no unitary meaning to this common sense of masculinity, on the contrary, it contains many contradictory or competing arguments. Individuals are positioned by discourses, but, as our data demonstrate, these identity positions are by no means stable and consistent: users can shift between different modes of masculinity and actively re-create positions for themselves, especially in response to “trouble”.</p> Manolo Farci Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11212 REBUILDING SOCIALISM: NOSTALGIA AND POLITICS IN ONLINE VIDEOGAME COMMUNITIES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11214 <p>Nearly 30 years on from the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, an entire cottage industry has arisen for the manufacturing and commodification of post-socialist nostalgia. While a lot of the more visible sites for this nostalgia are in physical spaces like museums, there are also equivalent spaces cropping up online. One such site of nostalgia is the online community surrounding the Slovak video game Workers and Resources: Soviet Republic (2019). A city builder set in a fictional Eastern Bloc country during the cold war, the game allows players to build and manage Soviet style cityscapes. But online discussions surrounding the game show that players are fans are interested in more than just game mechanics. Fan forums are filled with posts discussing the historical period simulated by the game, often in very personal terms. Some of these discussions take an overtly political tone, with participants debating the merits of socialist economic structures and civic institutions. Others are more directly personal, recalling the everyday lives of family members and occasionally childhood memories themselves. For these players, the video game seems to be more than just a hobby. It is a window into a past that only some of them have first hand experience with. Taking a qualitative approach by analyzing materials posted by the online fan community surrounding the video game Workers and Resources: Soviet Republic, this project seeks to explore the question of how red nostalgia is practiced in an online space.</p> Shane Ferrer-Sheehy Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 WOMEN IN BLOCKCHAIN: DISCOURSE & PRACTICE IN THE CO-CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11215 <p>Blockchain is an emerging technology characterized by peer-to-peer value transfer, decentralization, and democratic ideals of consensus. It also has a stark gender problem, with women representing just 14% of those participating in the space. This paper is based on 30 semi-structured interviews with women who work in blockchain, and participant observation at 17 blockchain meetups and conferences. The gendered discourses and practices surrounding blockchain events provide a productive site for examining the social construction of technologies, and more specifically the gendered social shaping of technologies. I use the theoretical lens of technofeminism, which strikes a balance between technophilia and technophobia, to explore the complex ways in which women’s everyday lives and technological change interrelate in the age of digitization. This co-construction approach challenges the prevailing discourses of technologies like blockchain as neutral and value-free. The goal of my study is not to ask or answer questions such as, “why aren’t there more women in blockchain?” or “how can we attract more women into blockchain?” Rather, I examine the gendered sociotechnical relations surrounding blockchain, as exemplified by discourses and practices at meetups and conferences. For instance, ‘by women, for women’ blockchain meetups serve as important spaces of resistance and support, whereas ‘women in blockchain’ panels at blockchain conferences ring hollow as ‘inclusive’ gestures, instead highlighting the exclusive culture at play. My findings explore how women’s identities and experiences are both enabled and constrained, often simultaneously, through participation in the blockchain space.</p> Julie A. Frizzo-Barker Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11215 LIFE AS A NETWORKED FAN https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11216 <p>In studying how fans live their lives online, a common lens has been to consider fandom as fan community (e.g. Sullivan, 2019). Modern digital social networks appear to be complicating this picture, with some scholars suggesting that online fandoms are fragmenting (e.g. Coppa, 2014). In this work, we report on a variety of case studies carried out using ethnographic and survey methods. These examine examples of fans whose networks span both online and offline spaces (for example fan tourism to Scotland initiated through membership of Outlander fan Facebook groups), and who may move between different micro-fandoms either consecutively or concurrently (for example Doctor Who fans watching via Twitch). Though this we demonstrate how individuals form networks around themselves which extend into multiple online and offline spaces, creating a multilayered personal interaction space. Building on the work of Rainie and Wellman (2012) we provide an alternative viewpoint of fan-centered rather than community-centered networks, and discuss how activities within a single person’s network may manifest differently depending on the affordances and policies of different digital platforms. We propose that future work should interrogate how policies related to such communal digital spaces, both written and socially constructed, impact upon individual and community behavior online and offline. Coppa, F. (2014). Fuck yeah, Fandom is Beautiful. The Journal of Fandom Studies, 2(1), 73–82. https://doi.org/10.1386/jfs.2.1.73_1 Sullivan, J. L. (2019). Media audiences: Effects, users, institutions, and power (Second edition). SAGE. Rainie, H., &amp; Wellman, B. (2012). Networked: The new social operating system. MIT Press.</p> Stephanie T Garrison Naomi Jane Jacobs Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11216 BETWEEN LIVE AND LIFE: EXPLORING THE ONLINE PRESENCE OF PERFORMANCE ARTISTS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11218 <p>In the last decade, the use of social media in the theatre scene has fueled debates on the possibility to redefine the performer-audience relationship on a wide scale. Scarce attention, however, has been paid on empirically studying how performance artists balance their use of social media between the need to promote their work and the ambition to experiment creatively on the medium affordances. This paper explores the use of social media by Italian contemporary theatre artists and companies. The study aims to explore the relational labour (Baym 2018) of performance artists in tracing the boundaries between online/offline performativity and between personal self-narration and artistic promotion. Through a combination of profile analysis and in-depth interviews, we want to understand how this artistic scene - that always experimented on intermedial and participatory possibilities - is making sense of social media. Preliminary results show how social media interaction and content production is becoming an integrated part of companies working routines. Companies position their social media activity outside a purely promotional logic. This anti-promotional ethos translates to a lack of efficacy in terms of strategic communication. However, it also lays the basis for the use of social media to expand performative practices. Although the interviewed companies do not exclude such a possibility, they lament their current inability in making such an attempt. Lacking resources is the most quoted explanation of this failure, followed by the refusal to compromise with the constraints of online languages, and the distrust of social media to reach wider audiences.</p> Laura Gemini Stefano Brilli Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11218 DETECTING COORDINATED LINK SHARING BEHAVIOR ON FACEBOOK DURING THE ITALIAN CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11219 <p>Social media, as many scholars have shown, can be used to influence political behavior through coordinated disinformation campaigns in which participants pretend to be ordinary citizens. With a specific reference to Facebook, a recent study has spotlighted patterns of coordinated activity aimed at fueling online circulation of specific news stories before the 2018 and 2019 Italian elections, an activity called by the authors “Coordinated Link Sharing Behavior” (CLSB). More precisely, CLSB refers to the coordinated shares of the same news articles in a very short time by networks of entities composed by Facebook pages, groups and verified public profiles. The uncertainty related to the coronavirus outbreak is a unique chance for malicious actors to leverage the anxiety of online publics to reach their goals, filling the information void with problematic content. Considering the association between coordination, media manipulation, and problematic information, the entities involved in coordinated online activities represent a privileged perspective on these phenomena. Thus, against the backdrop of the literature and the already conducted studies, this proposal will discuss Coordinated Link Sharing Behavior in the context of the coronavirus outbreak informational void, analyzing network mutations over time and the content strategies used to exploit the ambiguity associated with the topic.</p> Fabio Giglietto Nicola Righetti Giada Marino Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11219 THE STATE OF GLOBAL HARMFUL CONTENT REGULATION: EMPIRICAL OBSERVATIONS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11221 <p>Online intermediaries have always been regulated, locked in heated battles around intermediary liability for copyright or privacy reasons (Tusikov, 2016; Gorwa 2019). But a notable trend is the rapidly growing use of policy to try and govern user-generated content with a host of other perceived social or individual harms, such as disinformation, hate speech, and terrorist propaganda (Kaye, 2019; York 2019; Suzor 2019). Even as increasing academic and policy attention is paid to the global ‘techlash’, and leading voices outlining the various ways in which expression online is currently under threat, our understanding of the overall policy landscape remains ad hoc and incomplete. The goal of this paper is thus to present some initial observations on the state of harmful content regulation around the world, drawing upon a new original dataset that seeks to capture the global universe of harmful-content regulatory initiatives for user-generated content online. The first part of the paper presents descriptive results, showing the evolution (and notable increase) in policy development in the past two decades. The second half of the paper provides insight into which specific issue areas have attracted the most formal and informal regulatory arrangements, and assesses the scope (what kind of actors are seen as being a ‘platform,’ and how that is defined), key policy mechanisms (takedown regimes, transparency rules, technical standards), and sanctioning procedures (fines, criminal liability) enacted in these regulations.</p> Robert Gorwa Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11221 RESEARCHING ONLINE LABOR STRIKE AND PROTEST PREDICTION TECHNOLOGIES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11222 <p>Efforts to surveil social media platforms at scale using big data techniques have recently manifested in government-funded research to predict protests following the election of President Trump. This work is part of a computer science research field focused on online “civil unrest prediction” dedicated to forecasting protests across the globe (e.g. Indonesia, Brazil and Australia). Researchers draw upon established data science techniques such as event detection/prediction, but also specific approaches for surveilling social movements are conceived. Besides furthering the academic knowledge-base on civil unrest and protests, the works in this field envision to support a variety of stakeholders with different interests such as governments, the military, law enforcement, human rights organizations and industries such as insurance and supply chain management. I analyze the recent history of civil unrest prediction on social media platforms through examining discourses, implicated actors and technological affordances as encountered in publications and other public online artifacts. In this paper I discuss different risk frames employed by researchers, concerning politics of the technology and argue for a needed public debate on the role of online protest surveillance in democratic societies.</p> Gabriel Grill Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11222 HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE SEEN BY A MACHINE LIVELY DEVICES IN DIGITAL HORROR https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11223 <p>What does it feel like to be watched by a machine? How do we make sense of our present state of concurrent awareness of and obliviousness of living our everyday lives under ubiquitous surveillance? This presentation will explore these questions through an analysis of a selection of creepypasta stories that draw their horror from the experience of being watched by - or through - a machine. Conceptualized as “digital urban legends” and “contemporary folklore” creepypastas are short internet-based horror stories often posted anonymously and copied and pasted from forum to forum and collected in online archives.The stories analysed in this paper bring their horror to the technological devices that permeate our everyday lives, such as web cameras, GPS navigation, home security systems, and baby monitors. In these stories, the topic of surveillance and the experience of being watched is a pervasive theme, and quotidian technological devices take on a threatening presence. Sometimes the threat is connected to the idea of surveillance by nefarious corporations or hostile individuals, while in other stories the horror emerges from the realization that the watcher is not human at all. Combining horror tropes with the idea of digital surveillance, these stories function as affective articulations that reveal the anxieties that haunt our relationship with the devices with which we surround ourselves. Through its analysis, this paper argues that the fears articulated in these stories revolve around how machine vision technologies mediate our relationship with reality and redistribute agency within human/machine assemblages.</p> Marianne Gunderson Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11223 STOR(Y)ING DESMADRE ON THE INTERNET: THE POLITICS, AFFECT AND ETHICS OF ONLINE QUEER LATIN AMERICAN CABARET ARCHIVES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11224 <p>In this paper I discuss my doctoral research-creation project: the design of an online archive of the community materials of a Mexico City-based queer cabaret collective active between 2006-2012, called Burlesquimeras, which I was a member of. While digital photographs and social media certainly existed in the years Burlesquimeras was active, it was before the two were seamlessly integrated (at least in the Mexican context) through the ubiquity of smartphones and unlimited data. That is, an online search of Burlesquimeras does not yield a significant collection of photographs that can be potentially culled or scrapped from social media. Most of the digital photographs and other ephemera, have been stored by its members in the mess or clutter of the homes and hard drives of the community members. Moreover, I explain a concept I coined: “stor(y)ing”. It is influenced by theoretical structures and praxes that challenge and expand notions of evidence, sources and the possibilities of historic narratives, such as Hartman’s Critical Fabulation (2008, 2019), Cowan’s Cabaret Methods (Forthcoming) and Navarrete Linares’ use of Mesoamerican myth and cosmohistoria (2011, 2018). I propose that the very act of caring for these materials by their queer creators, albeit in a messy way, and precisely because it is in a messy way, is already an act of story-telling. I refer to this practice as stor(y)ing: a storage of materials that itself articulates a story.</p> CARINA GUZMAN Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11224 YOUTH IN THE DIGITAL AGE: ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF DIGITAL SKILLS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11225 <p>What actors and factors shape children and young people’s digital skills? And how do their digital skills impact the rest of their lives? These are the two research questions addressed in this paper, along with an analysis of how the research literature to date has measured digital skills. The findings reported here come from a systematic evidence review of the antecedents and consequences of digital skills (Haddon, Cino, Doyle, Livingstone, Mascheroni and Stoilova, forthcoming) as part of the ySKILLS project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.</p> Leslie Haddon Sonia Livingstone Giovanna Mascheroni Mariya Stoilova Davide Cino Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11225 OPEN DATA PLATFORMS FOR A DATA COMMONS, HOW TO SUPPORT THE LIFE OF DATA BEYOND RELEASE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11226 <p>In this paper we will discuss the challenges and opportunities of infusing in open data a life beyond its original public release. Indeed, it is often unclear whether open data has a life beyond the one it was initially collected for, to the extent that some authors have even described the public reuse of government data as no more than a “myth”. We will present the results of the project Data Commons Scotland launched with the idea of creating an Internet based prototype platform for creating a trustworthy common of open data, thus facilitating a life for data beyond the one of the original producer. We will discuss the results of our empirical research for the project based on 31 qualitative interviews with a number of actors, such as data producers or citizens. Moreover, we will present the results of the co-design conducted for the design of the Data Commons Scotland platform. With the results of our analysis we will reflect on the challenges of building Internet based platforms for open data supporting the generation of a common.</p> Hannah Hamilton Stefano De Paoli Anna Wilson Greg Singh Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11226 VIRAL MUSICKING: AESTHETICS AND ITERATIONS IN ONLINE CONTAGION https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11228 <p>Cats at keyboards. Dancing hamsters. A photo of a dress, and videos set to “Harlem Shake.”&nbsp; The above are recognizable as “viral” phenomena—artifacts of the early twenty-first century whose production and dissemination were facilitated by the internet, proliferating social media platforms, and ubiquitous digital devices. In this paper, I argue that participation in such phenomena (producing, consuming, circulating, or “sharing” them) constitutes a significant site of twenty-first-century musical practice: viral musicking, to borrow and adapt Christopher Small’s foundational 1998 coinage. In this paper I analyze instances of viral musicking from the 2000s through the 2010s, tracking viral circulation as heterogeneous, capacious, and contradictory—a dynamic, relational assemblage of both “new” and “old” media and practices. The notion of virus as a metaphor for cultural spread is often credited to computer science and science fiction, with subsequent co-option into marketing and media; such formulations run adjacent to the popularization of "virus" in philosophical models for globalization and pervasive capitalism across the late twentieth century, from Derrida to Baudrillard and Deleuze. In this paper, I seek to braid these lineages with the work of scholars reading cultural contagion through lenses of alterity and difference, situating music as a particularly felicitous vector for viral contagion, exceeding and preceding Internet circulation. Ultimately, I argue that viral musicking activates utopian promises of digital advocates, through the cooperative social operation of “sharing,” even as it resonates through histories and presents of racialization, miscegenation, appropriation, and the realities of porous, breachable borders, cultures, and bodies.</p> Paula Clare Harper Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11228 THE VIRTUAL CENSUS 2.0: A CONTINUED INVESTIGATION ON THE REPRESENTATIONS OF GENDER, RACE AND AGE IN VIDEOGAMES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11229 <p>While many studies suggest media representations of marginalized social groups play a vital role in shaping one’s worldview (Gerbner et al. 1994) or normalizing power imbalances (Harwood and Anderson 2002), videogames continue to privilege characters that are White, adult and male. This paper revisits key questions addressed in Williams, et al.’s “The Virtual Census: Representation of Gender, Race and Age in Videogames” (2009) to examine how representations of gender, race, and age in videogames have changed over the last ten years. The present study analyses the United Kingdom’s top 100 best-selling games of 2017 and looks for changing and continuing trends in the representation of videogame characters compared to the original study. While our sample still shows a preference for White, adult, and male characters, a small but significant increase in the representation of female characters and people of colour offers hope for the future of gaming. By revisiting the 2009 census, we aim to provide empirical evidence that may contribute to further discussions of how gender, race and age are portrayed in videogames, both within academic and industry circles.</p> Annie Harrisson Shawn Jones Jessie Marchessault Sâmia Pedraça Mia Consalvo Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11229 LURKING, MAKING YOURSELF INVISIBLE AND SHRUGGING IT OFF – DIGITAL USERS’ COPING STRATEGIES IN DATAFIED EVERYDAY LIVES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11230 <p>This paper investigates how audiences are coping with the digital platforms that they encounter in their everyday lives and how they feel about that these platforms are tracking, collecting data and mining data. By means of a bottom-up approach, we seek to direct scholarly attention at ordinary users’ self-reflexive (and increasingly) ambiguous perception and discursive articulation of their practices of algorithmic delegation. We aim to map the mundane data routines and habits of coping with data anxieties and thus ordinary users’ coping strategies (Pink, Lanzeni, &amp; Horst, 2018). The analysis is empirically grounded in focus groups carried out in 2018 and 19 in Roskilde, Denmark, with a total of 34 participants of different ages and education background in order to increase homogeny and productivity in group discussions (Bloor, Frankland, Thomas, &amp; Robson, 2012). The focus groups were transcribed and analysed in relation to Kennedy et. al.'s work on contextual integrity in practice (Kennedy et al., 2015), defined as case-by-case assessments of whether data mining practices can be considered to be reasonable. This enables us to show how different coping strategies are employed depending on the context of the habitual situation and digital routines (fx work vs. private life), the data collected (fx sensitive to non-sensitive data), and the platform the audiences engages with (fx private vs. public, national vs. international platforms and apps. The paper identifies four overall coping strategies, coping by absence, coping by trust, coping by minimizing risk and coping by apathy.</p> Jannie Møller Hartley Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 EVERY CLICK YOU MAKE: ALGORITHMIC LITERACY AND THE DIGITAL LIVES OF YOUNG ADULTS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11233 <p>Critical digital literacy comprises subsets of medium- and content-related skills necessary for digital privacy and digital citizenship. Frameworks for defining and evaluating digital literacy proliferate in academia and policymaking; however, in a networked climate subsumed by dataveillance, algorithmic bias, political bots, and deep fakes, these frameworks need to be updated. Algorithms may be the greatest determinant in sociopolitical online interactions and information gathering, and without a multivalent literacy of algorithms, nuanced understandings of digital privacy and digital citizenship may be unachievable. We therefore propose ‘algorithmic literacy’ become an essential element for digital literacy in young adult media education. Researchers have highlighted how intersectional aspects of gender, ability, and socioeconomic status are stronger predictors of low digital literacy than age. Following a tradition of participatory (rather than protectionist) research about youth privacy online, our research foregrounds young adults’ practices and perspectives on algorithmic culture in order to co-develop a framework for algorithmic literacy. Our paper shares findings from a participatory project co-designing an algorithmic literacy toolkit with young adults as co-researchers and participants. We created a curriculum focusing on reviewing the current critical scholarly literature, policy, and popular discourse on algorithms. After two weeks of intensive research, our student co-researchers met amongst themselves to devise a sustainable, ‘living-document’ type of toolkit, comprising a website, an Instagram page, and a Medium blog. Reflected in the toolkit's name, The Algorithmic You uses an intersectional lens to facilitate peer-oriented ‘self-discovery’ of how algorithms shape and produce interactions in the everyday lives of young adults.</p> Monica Jean Henderson Leslie Regan Shade Katie Mackinnon Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11233 THE MANY SIDES OF A COIN: EXPLORING THE COST AND VALUE OF TOKENS IN CHATURBATE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11234 <p>On the sexcam platform Chaturbate.com, a ‘token’ is at the same time the name of a unit of made-up currency (‘tokens’) and its descriptor (something issued by an authority that can be exchanged later on). A token stands in for something else. But what else, exactly? As this paper develops, Chaturbate tokens have different uses and meanings for the audience and performers. These differences do not only happen at the users’ level but are sustained by an ecology of associated payment services that deepen the contrast between them. An analysis of the differences in cost and value of tokens, and the environment in which these dissimilarities occur, illustrates the role of tokens as an extractive technology that profits from, and perpetuates, financial discrimination.</p> Antonia Hernandez Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11234 THE MORALISATION OF PREDICTIVITY IN THE AGE OF DATA-DRIVEN SURVEILLANCE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11235 <p>This paper argues that emerging technologies of datafication are intensifying a moralisation of predictivity. On one hand, this describes the growing pressure to quantify and predict every kind of social problem. Reluctance to adopt emerging technologies of surveillance is construed as abdication of a moral responsibility via negligence to inevitable progress. On the other hand, it describes the corresponding demand that human subjects learn to live in more predictable and machine-readable ways, adapting to the flaws and ambiguities of imperfect technosystems. This argument echoes that of Joseph Weizenbaum (1976), a pioneer of early AI research and the inventor of the ELIZA chatbot: that well in advance of machines fully made in our image, it is the human subjects that are asked to render themselves more compatible and legible to those machines. Drawing from a book-length research project into the public presentation of surveillance technologies, I show how messy data, arbitrary classifications, and other uncertainties become fabricated into the status of reliable predictions. Specifically, the bulk of the presentation will examine the rapid expansion of counter-terrorist surveillance systems in 2010’s America. All in all, the moralisation of predictivity helps suture the many imperfections of data-driven surveillance, and provide justificatory cover for their breakneck expansion across the boundaries of public and private. They perpetuate the normative expectation that what can be predicted must be, and what needs to be predicted surely can be. In the process, spaces for human discretion, informal norms, and sensitivity to human circumstance are being squeezed out.</p> Sun-ha Hong Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11235 FUCK YOUR FEELINGS: THE AFFECTIVE WEAPONISATION OF FACTS AND REASON https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11236 <p>This paper examines emerging trends in fact signaling: the performative invocation of the idea of Fact and Reason, distinct from the concrete presentation of evidence or reasoning, as a way to cultivate affective solidarity. Emblematic is the conservative influencer Ben Shapiro’s slogan, “facts don’t care about your feelings”: a paean to the mythological figure of emotionlessly objective truth which may then be weaponised against one’s enemies. Scholars are increasingly attentive to the ways in which what was once popularised as a ‘fake news’ epidemic is not simply a virulent strain of bad information in a fundamentally rational online ecosystem, but rather a broader crisis and transformation of what counts as truthful, trustworthy and authentic (e.g. Boler &amp; Davis, 2018; also see Banet-Weiser, 2012). Our contribution emphasises the affective and habitual dimension of this phenomenon. Through a close analysis of Ben Shapiro’s content and personal brand, we show how the generic invocation of Fact and Reason cultivates a sense of affective attachment not defined by ideological consistency or, indeed, the actual practice of research or logical reasoning, but rather a particularly masculinised and adversarial ideal of Truth. The payoff is the reassurance and pleasure of a stable subject position from which one’s political opposition may be Othered with impunity. Facts may not care about your feelings, but insisting upon this fact is all about building a certain structure of feeling.</p> Sun-ha Hong Selena Neumark Hermann Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11236 THE INTERNET IS A SERIES OF ANALOGIES: COMPARATIVE LANGUAGE AS POWER IN ONLINE GOVERNANCE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11237 <p>In 2006, Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens became a laughingstock and enduring meme for arguing during legislative deliberations that the Internet could be understood as "a series of tubes" and “not a big truck" (Belson 2006). The unintended humor of his analogies was ridiculed as evidence that this older lawmaker was too out of touch with modern communications technology to effectively govern them. Yet the episode itself can be understood as evidence of a larger truth—one that both exculpates Stevens somewhat and underlines a broader challenge for internet governance: Namely, that nearly all internet laws and regulations necessarily rely on imperfect metaphor and analogy to keep them in accordance with pre-digital law and constitutional principles, and that even lawmakers and judges with considerable expertise in the field must also rely upon such figurative language. Furthermore, because rhetorical comparisons are fundamentally interpretive, rather than indexical reflections of the things they describe, their use in internet governance amplifies the risk that the prevailing laws and regulations will benefit some users over others, and some uses over others. The internet, in other words, is like a series of analogies. In this article, we catalog many of these analogies and metaphors, document their use in internet governance and policy, and critically investigate how the choice of comparative rhetoric to render the internet knowable introduces hidden bias into the governance process, benefiting some stakeholders over others.</p> Chelsea Horne Aram Sinnreich Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11237 “I’VE GOTTA DO IT FOR THE BIT”: MEMETIC MEDIA AND COLLECTIVE IDENTITY THROUGH STREAMER PERFORMANCE ON TWITCH https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11238 <p>Videogame livestreamers on the platform Twitch present a carefully curated version of themselves negotiated in part via interactions with their viewers. This persona is encoded not just through their live performance, but also through other platform features including streamer-specific emoticons and audio-visual overlays triggered by stream events such as donations and subscriptions. From these customisable features emerges a complicated feedback loop between the streamer and non-streamer participants that ultimately results in a set of collective values performed and refined by both parties over time. In this paper I interrogate how the incorporation of Internet memes into streaming personas creates accessible avenues for communication with and between members of this collective that contribute significantly to this value system. I do this by defining the term memesis as the cultural process by which Internet users draw upon existing memes in order to create new memetic media. Through two contrasting case studies of Twitch streamers BrownMan and PaladinAmber, I examine how memesis reflects streamer agency and impacts the structure and values of stream collectives. In particular, I draw attention to the relationship between memes and stream collectives as it relates to streamer identity, memetic histories within streams, and the contrasting explicit and latent values within manifestations of particular memes, among others. Further, understanding how memesis renders visible the encoding of meaning and value into manifestations of meme by emphasising the creation process over the memetic product, I argue that the concept has value not just on Twitch, but within broader digital cultural spheres.</p> Nathan J Jackson Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11238 FACEBOOK: FROM PERSONAL MEDIUM TO MASS MEDIUM – AND BACK AGAIN? - THE USE OF FACEBOOK ACROSS AGE GROUPS 2015-19 https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11239 <p>This paper investigates how different age groups perceive Facebook as a personal medium and a mass medium, respectively, based on a time series analysis of Danish Internet users. As Denmark for long has been one of the countries with relatively most Facebook users and as Facebook plays an important role in everyday life and the public debate, data from Denmark might give good indications of Facebook’s development in general. This paper is based on five consecutive surveys among Danish Internet users, in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 (N between 1200 and 1500 each year). I focus on the use of different parts of Facebook across age groups; the personalized uses like Messenger, private groups and intimate communication, versus “mass media use” like reading news, organizational and political information and taking part in nationwide debates. I also investigate different age groups’ attitudes towards Facebook and whether they see it as a personal or a mass medium. First and foremost, I find notable differences across age groups. I also find that the differences are increasing over the years. In 2015 there were not significant differences in Facebook use across age groups. In 2019 a vast majority of the youngest, aged 18-30, used Facebook dominantly as a personalized medium, highlighting Messenger and private groups as their preferred ways of communication and interaction. The older generations have a much more diversified use, treating Facebook as a personal as well as a mass medium.</p> Jakob Linaa Jensen Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11239 DISABILITY AND MENTAL HEALTH AS A PROFESSIONAL LIVE STREAMER https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11240 <p>In this paper I explore economic and inclusion opportunities for people with disabilities and mental health issues afforded by ‘live streaming’ ‒ the live broadcast of one’s activities over the internet to a globally dispersed audience. In both 2016 and 2017, the leading live streaming platform Twitch.tv broadcast over 500,000 years of video, which were produced by over two million regular broadcasters (‘streamers’), and consumed by an audience of several hundred million viewers. Streamers can profit, up to and including a full-time living ‘wage’ for those at the highest levels. Numerous successful streamers with chronic health issues have discussed the personal and professional benefits streaming brings them. Utilising data from a research project with 100 interviews, alongside approximately 500 hours of ethnographic observation, this paper examines the experiences of live streaming for broadcasters with disabilities, mental health issues, or physical health issues. Firstly, I explore the positive elements of streaming for these broadcasters, focusing on the many conditions represented in this demographic, and the benefits streaming gives for inclusion and community. Secondly, I consider the negative experiences of these streamers, focused on entanglements of health and technology that make their streaming lives potentially more challenging than their colleagues. Thirdly, I focus on the economic opportunities, and the potential for entrepreneurial activity, the platform affords. I conclude the analysis by exploring how these aspects make live streaming a potentially exemplary emancipatory and entrepreneurial space for these individuals, but not one without challenges.</p> Mark Richard Johnson Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11240 ONE DONOR EGG AND “A DOLLOP OF LOVE”: THE BANAL AMBIGUITIES OF EGG DONATION ADVERTISING ON FACEBOOK https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11242 <p>Using textual analysis of 28 adverts for egg donation, sharing, and freezing drawn from Facebook’s Ad Library archive, we consider what forms of motherhood, kinship, and sociality are promised through targeted advertisements for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) on Facebook. We seek to understand (1) how egg donation, sharing and freezing adverts by ART providers represent the women they expect to use their services; (2) how the meaning of these representations is changed by their delivery through algorithmically targeted marketing; and (3) what imaginative, genealogical, and relational possibilities are foreclosed or endorsed in the delivery of these adverts to algorithmically anticipated “fertile females”. Through textual analysis we seek to understand the forms of potential “life” that are present in the advertisements. We consider the representations of egg donation, identify a banal ambiguity in promised post-feminist kinship, and identify the selected families-in-making which might be created by ART. We combine this with a critical interrogation of how and why these adverts are targeted and delivered to certain demographics of algorithmically anticipated Facebook users. The opacity and structural rigidity of Facebook’s targeted advertising systems – structural mechanisms that are binaric in back-end databases and yet “lively” at the point of the user interface - require that we interrogate both media text and computational delivery mechanisms to meaningfully understand what forms of “life” are promised by gender-targeted ART. The genealogical possibility offered through ART is represented with banal ambiguity wherein potentially disruptive arrangements of kinship are derisked by an overarching narrative of simplicity and sameness.</p> Tanya Kant Elizabeth Reed Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11242 WHO REMAINS OFFLINE AND WHY? THE EVOLUTION OF INDIVIDUAL FACTORS INFLUENCING INTERNET NON-USE FROM 2011 TO 2019 IN A HIGHLY DIGITISED SOCIETY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11243 <p>Switzerland is one of the countries with the highest internet penetration rates worldwide. Nevertheless, 600,000 people or 8% of the population remain offline. Being digitally excluded is problematic as internet use yields many advantages in everyday life. Obtaining real-time traffic information, applying for jobs, buying things or being an informed citizen increasingly requires internet use. Offline alternatives are often inferior, more expensive or non-existent. In countries where internet adoption is almost universal, the disadvantages of not being online are likely to increase and become even more detrimental to life chances. The choice of appropriate public policies to bridge digital divides, i.e., gaps between internet users and non-users, requires the empirical assessment of internet non-use in highly digitised societies. Therefore, this article investigates how digital divides have evolved from 2011 to 2019. Based on survey data representative of the Swiss population, binary logistic regressions show that structural inequalities significantly influence digital divides: lower income and educational level consistently predicted internet non-use and the age gap between users and non-users increased. Gender did not significantly affect non-use. The main self-reported reason for not using the internet was a perceived lack of usefulness. Proxy internet use, i.e., asking someone to do something online, significantly correlated with an increased intention to use the internet. Thus, an increased interest in the internet as well as indirect exposure to it are key enabling factors for internet use. These representative, long-term results form an input for more evidence-based public policies to mitigate the risks of digital exclusion.</p> Kiran Kappeler Noemi Festic Michael Latzer Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11243 DIGITAL DETOX CAMP: VALUES AND MOTIVATIONS FOR ENGAGING IN DIGITAL DISCONNECT https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11244 <p>Media users increasingly express ambivalence about their own media consumption, often related to ubiquitous media technology such as the smartphone and social media. In order to understand the growing trend of disconnection as a cultural and social phenomenon, we conducted an analysis of the digital detox inspired camp for grownups, Underleir, which has been arranged in Norway annually since 2014. The main empirical material stems from a field study of the camp Underleir in 2019 where we conducted participatory observation on a four-day field trip. Online material about the camp from the inception in 2014 to the sixth installment in 2019 was also included. The framework for this analysis is media domestication theory with special attention to the concept reverse domestication. In contrast to the domestication process where new media technology is "tamed", reverse domestication implies cognitive processes and practical strategies involved when distancing from media technology. Underleir illustrates how practical, social, and normative aspects may be interwoven when media use is reversed or altered. Normatively speaking, the digital detox experience was tied to broader sets of values, including an aim for a more creative, authentic life and a quest for mental wellbeing and the ability to focus. Many participants stated that the opportunity to engage in creative activities, and to be social in a friendly setting, was just as important as the absence of media.</p> Faltin Karlsen Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11244 NEWS JUNKIE OR ONLY ACCIDENTALLY INFORMED? AN IN-SITU STUDY ON SITUATIONAL TYPES AND INDIVIDUAL REPERTOIRES OF MOBILE NEWS ACCESS AMONG GERMAN YOUNG ADULTS. https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11245 <p>Over the past three decades our media ecologies have changed substantially, not at least changing the ways in which we get in touch with the news. These changes have led both to high hopes for more equality in news access and a better-informed electorate, as well as fears of news avoidance, filter bubbles, and increasing knowledge gaps, with recent empirical evidence leaning towards rather pessimistic perspectives. However, most of the research to date focusses on one specific kind of news access, e.g., news consumption via social media, and its effects, neglecting the fact that users combine several ways to access the news throughout their daily lives, creating their individual media use repertoires. In order to disentangle these variances within our daily lives from differences between users, we need to analyze access to news on a situational level. Being meta-media, mobile media constitute an excellent microcosmos to study situational variability in news access. Hence, we investigated the situational types of mobile news access in young adults’ daily lives as well as their mobile news repertoires based on the previously identified situational access types. To do so, we conducted an experience sampling study among young adults in Germany. Our results highlight that differences within (mobile) news use should not only be studied as differences between people, but also as variances within users’ daily lives. For example, we see that no mobile news repertoire in our study solely relies on news access via intermediaries such as social media.</p> Veronika Karnowski Katharina Knop-Huelss Zoe Olbermann Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11245 RENAME AND RESIST COLONIAL EXTRACTION: TWITTER’S TOPONYMIC POLITICS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11246 <p>In Canada, known to Indigenous peoples as Turtle Island, the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline would more than double transport of bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands, and though national legitimation of the project is strong, it relies on economic discourse that overwrites environmental concerns, as well as Canada’s lack of consultation with Indigenous peoples. Rejecting settler-colonial authority, pipeline protestors have turned to on-the-ground tactics including petitions and demonstrations - and also to social media, where they share information, organize, and express resistance. On Twitter, user profiles are associated with a diversity of locations including places like Vancouver and Ottawa, recognized under “official,” colonial names. Twitter’s free-form location field, however, enables users to self-select their locations, and connect with one another by situating themselves according to anti-colonial or Indigenous place names, such as “Secwepemcul’ecw” and “Unceded Syilx Territory.” Considering the colonial nature of resource extraction in Canada (Preston, 2017), our project addresses: in what ways does anti-pipeline sentiment correlate with anti-colonial or Indigenous-affiliated toponymic identifiers on Twitter? Applying digital methods, we found empirically that these locations map onto the hashtag discursive space consistently with the issue alignment of discourses, suggesting that users on Twitter do indeed engage in toponymic politics (Rogers, 2015). As a space of resistance and expression of marginalized perspectives, Twitter’s free-form user location enables political expression in ways that unavailable on platforms insisting on geolocation or geotagging. By design, Twitter enables users to establish geographies of trust beyond colonial hegemony as users identify according to Indigenous place names.</p> Carrie Karsgaard Michael Hockenhull Maggie MacDonald Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11246 COPYRIGHT GOSSIP: EXPLORING COPYRIGHT KNOWLEDGE, SENTIMENT AND BLACKBOX THEORIES ON YOUTUBE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11247 <p>This study investigates copyright discourses on YouTube. Through a qualitative content analysis of approximately 200 YouTube videos, we explore how YouTube creators understand copyright law, and how they navigate a highly technical and dynamic copyright enforcement ecosystem. Our findings offer insights into how digitally situated cultural producers are impacted by and respond to automated content moderation. This is important because increasingly lawmakers around the world are asking digital platforms to implement efficient systems for content moderation and yet there is a lack of good information about the stakeholders most directly impacted by these practices. In this study, we provide a systematic analysis of the opinions and strategies of creators who are affected by YouTube’s copyright enforcement measures.</p> D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye Joanne E Gray Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11247 SOCIAL EXPECTATIONS OF AI AND THE PERFORMATIVITY OF ETHICS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11248 <p>This article draws on the sociology of expectations to examine the construction of expectations of ‘ethical AI’ and considers the implications of these expectations for communication governance. We first analyse a range of public documents in the EU, the UK and Ireland to identify the key actors, mechanisms and issues which structure societal expectations around AI and an emerging discourse on ethics. We then explore expectations of AI and ethics through a survey of members of the public. We conclude that discourses of ‘ethical AI’ are generically performative, but to become more effective in practice we need to acknowledge the limitations of contemporary AI and the requirement for extensive human labour to deploy AI in specific societal contexts. An effective ethics of AI requires domain appropriate AI tools, updated professional practices, dignified places of work and robust regulatory and accountability frameworks.</p> Aphra Kerr Marguerite Barry John Kelleher Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11248 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN AUDIT: TRACING THE ROOTS AND REPERCUSSIONS OF THE HRT-TRANSGENDER DATABASE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11249 <p>Focus on the harms in data collection, distribution, and use in sociotechnical systems tends to reify the idea that research conducted by universities and other public-sector parties is both more ethical and more easily lends itself to auditing. This falsely positions data collection and distribution undertaken by public institutions as more available to review and scrutiny. Documenting our attempts to audit the HRT-Transgender Database - a database collected by a public university in the United States - we engage in a critical examination of not only the gaps in IRB coverage of “big data” research, but also the practical limitations and troubles involved in attempting to audit data practices that, on paper, should be highly documented. Drawing from feminist and trans studies critical approaches to information practice, our work brings into frame vital issues that researchers seeking to design oversight mechanisms should address, and begins a conversation about the visceral and often painful work of providing that oversight. This research extends from a review of the limits of IRB oversight to incorporate an interrogation of how technological interventions increase the likelihood of actual and symbolic violence in the lives of transgender people, including those not present in the actual HRT-Transgender Database.</p> Os Keyes Jeanie Austin Michael Zimmer Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11249 SURVEILLANCE INFRASTRUCTURES IN AND FOR CRISES: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF CHINA AND SOUTH KOREA’S DEVELOPMENT OF QUARANTINE SURVEILLANCE MOBILE APPLICATIONS DURING COVID-19 https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11250 <p>This article examines China and South Korea’s health surveillance infrastructures that are being developed and deployed during COVID19. To control the outbreak and maintain the state, the Chinese government implemented the "Alipay Health Code” in collaboration with technology giants like Alibaba, while South Korea launched a “self-quarantine safety protection app” to enforce home isolation to suspected carriers and monitor their health statuses. By comparatively analyzing these quarantine surveillance mobile applications that the Chinese and South Korean governments are utilizing in pandemic control, we investigate how these two different governmental regimes - one authoritarian and the other democratic - construct and propagate what their state-of-the-art surveillance technologies can offer to the public in moments of emergency. Through a mixture of walk-through method and situational analysis, this article aims to unpack the processes in which these technologies become developed and examine the politics around their deployment. More broadly, we argue that analyzing them offers new opportunities to investigate the relationship between state surveillance and personal privacy in the context of a national crisis. As surveillance tactics that were deemed oppressive and undemocratic in ordinary times get easily normalized in crisis situations, these moments allow us to reveal the precarious and flexible nature of surveillance and privacy while destabilizing the West-oriented, dichotomic understanding of these concepts. This article tackles this question by observing the relationships among relevant actors – the state officials, industry professionals, and general users – and various contestations/negotiations involved in the processes of designing and deploying these quarantine surveillance apps.</p> Youngrim Kim Yuchen Chen Fan Liang Muzammil Hussain Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11250 RESEARCH ETHICS PRACTICES IN A CHANGING SOCIAL MEDIA LANDSCAPE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11251 <p>In our work we study practical approaches to internet research ethics with a logitudinal perspective. We have interviewed more than 40 social media researchers in 2013-2014 using a semi-structured qualitative interview approach. From these interviews we gained insights into the challenges of everyday research practices at the various stages of the research process, as well as into motivations for specific approaches and critical reflections on research design and decision making, particularly concerning research ethics. At the end of 2019 we started re-interviewing the participants in our study and will continue to do so over the next months. In addition to questions about the details of everyday data work and the rationales behind (ethical) decision making, we are asking participants what has changed in the way they conduct research with social media. Based on our interviews as well as the ongoing discussions of Internet Research Ethics in the community, this paper focuses on the ethical dimensions of social media research practices and how they have evolved over the past years. Between our two interview periods, the social media landscape has witnessed several changes, including incidents like the "Cambridge Analytica scandal", which have also created ethical discussions in the broader public. By asking researchers about their everyday work, our research contributes to a look behind the scenes of "life as an internet researcher", as phrased in the list of topics in the call for papers.</p> Katharina E. Kinder-Kurlanda Katrin Weller Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11251 VACCINE INFORMATION SEEKING AND SHARING: HOW PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUPS CONTRIBUTED TO THE ANTI-VACCINE MOVEMENT ONLINE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11252 <p>Although vaccines are supported by decades of research demonstrating their efficacy and safety, many parents still decide not to vaccinate their children due to the perceived risks. One major factor in vaccine dissent is the proliferation of vaccine opposed content online. Online content has become an integral part of how people make health and science-related decisions. This study explores how members of anti-vaccine Facebook groups use the platform to seek and share vaccine information. Using interviews and Facebook posts shared in vaccine opposed groups, this study was able to identify the information seeking and sharing behaviors on Facebook and how Facebook’s platform changes are affecting the vaccine opposed movement. Findings from this study will provide further insights into the relationships among social media use, values, and trust in the vaccine debate. In addition, results may be applicable to other scientific controversies, online misinformation, and the development of public health interventions.</p> Kolina Koltai Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11252 RELIVING MEMORIES (OVER AND OVER AGAIN): GIFS, MOVING PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE SMARTPHONE ALBUM https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11253 <p>This paper examines potential changes in the temporal experience of everyday digital media through the smartphone photo album. Smartphone photo albums not only organize and display domestic photographs but also initiate temporally novel photographic formats: for instance, the images taken by users can be used as raw material in the production of new kinds of ‘moving’ or ‘animated’ photographic products, usually formatted as GIF files and characterized by looped time. While the character of these products and the processes of their creation vary across operating systems, both Google’s and Apple’s systems radically disrupt the conventional assumptions of photography theory regarding photography’s relations with time. Pre-digital photography theory postulated a key distinction between a photograph and a movie or video: the photograph is static; the movie is characterized by temporal progression. In contrast, the GIF presents a shift from linear temporality to looped, cyclical time, promoting a present tense made visible not through instantaneous capture (photography) or sequential unfolding (film and video), but through continual recurrence. It eliminates the linearity of past-present-future because of its perpetual looped temporality, constituting a hybrid between photographic still and film or video. As a result, the repetitive movement of the GIF constructs a generalized impression of an event as an $2 , rather than the structured narrative of an event as a temporal unfolding. The emergence of the GIF in the smartphone album thus signals the rise of a new structure of memory and temporal experience in everyday mediated life.</p> Sara Kopelman Paul Frosh Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11253 SMART CITIES’ ENVIRONMENTAL DREAMS AND THEIR DIRTY MATERIAL POLITICS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11254 <p>This paper draws on a study that included two types of materials: firstly, visual and textual analysis of a selection of smart cities’ websites; and secondly, a review of published literature on smart cities and the environment. In both, a celebratory narrative of environmental efficiency prevails. Although ecology is usually not the primary focus of smart cities’ self-promotion, their websites tell a story of how smart cities would ultimately make the environment better, cleaner, and greener. The literature, similarly, talks about “sharing cities”; “green growth”, “green infrastructure”, “progressive urbanisation”, “sustainable urbanism”, “green technology innovation”, “resilient cities”, “smart future” and more. However, despite the overwhelming rhetoric of being environmental saviours, smart cities pose multiple ecological threats, most of which are invisibilised, because they take place elsewhere: the extraction of resources needed to produce the actual devices; the toxicity of their production process and the e-waste left behind; and the rapidly increasing energy demands of data farms, needed to sustain every air pollution sensor, every city dashboard, every smart bus stop, every ‘smart’ communication network. At the heart of my paper lies a troubling, yet crucial question: how to reconcile the rapid and expansive adoption of various smart technologies into environmentally driven initiatives and sustainability projects such as smart cities, with the extensive environmental damages brought on by the digitization itself? How, in other words, can we think about smart cities environmental promises, while taking into account their dirty material politics?</p> Adi Kuntsman Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11254 RESEARCHING THE ROLE OF DIGITAL MEDIA IN ENABLING EDUCATIONAL PARTICIPATION OF YOUNG REFUGEES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11255 <p>This paper presents an ongoing joint ethnographic research project by the University of Cologne and the Leuphana University Lüneburg, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), focusing the role of digital media in facilitating young refugees‘ educational participation (“Bildungsteilhabe Geflüchteter im Kontext digitalisierter Bildungsarrangements”, 2019-2022), The project aims at reconstructing factors that enable educational participation of young refugees in digitally-mediated educational environments. In three extended phases of ethnographic field work (participant observations) and artefact analyses of digital media in non-formal educational contexts such as youth welfare institutions (e.g. residental groups, pedagogical family assistance and youth-cafés) formal educational contexts (e.g. schools, vocational training etc.) and informal spaces (e.g. family, peer activities etc.) implicit and unplanned as well as explicit and pedagogically planned uses of digital media are focused. The central research question in this paper is what importance (if any) does digital media (such as social media sites, apps, smartphones, learning software etc.) have in the everyday life of young refugees when it comes to educational practices and coping in the everyday life. In this context, practices and their relation to aspects of unequal basic conditions (e.g. level of education) and digital inequalities (e.g. reproduction of disadvantages in media usage, differences in media experiences etc.) are analyzed. This paper presents the empirical work in progress focusing methodological and ethical challenges in research at the intersection of sensitive areas such as forced migration, youth welfare, private life and schooling.</p> Nadia Kutscher Michi Fujii Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11255 DEFENDING AGAINST SOCIAL MEDIA: HOW PUBLIC CRIMINAL DEFENSE HELPS US ADDRESS SOCIAL MEDIA GOVERNANCE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11256 <p>As justice-minded academics, we want to understand the role of social media in civil society with a vested interest in ensuring that social media serves a pluralistic society fairly and equitably. Gillespie (2018) has helped frame this task in terms of both governance of platforms and by platforms, but we also want to know what state governments do with social media (Gorwa, 2019). This paper focuses on how social media companies cooperate with state governments to hold users criminally liable, and the lessons this case bears for understanding and improving the fairness and equity of judicial governance. We draw on interviews with twenty public criminal defenders in NYC in which we asked: 1) where social media appears in their cases and the role it plays; 2) their access to user content and social media companies; and, 3) how they use social media as evidence and defend against it. We identified three problem areas around fair and equal access to the law. First, we heard concerns that the cooperation of social media companies was asymmetrical because companies worked almost exclusively with law enforcement. Second, public defenders were upset about overly broad search warrants that furnished the full contents of a suspect’s social media account. Third, public defenders complained about the use and admission of prejudicial evidence that played to negative, racial stereotypes of their clients. We suggest several reforms for judicial governance, including more nearly equitable cooperation practices, restrictions on search warrants, and admissibility protocols and disclaimers on admitted materials.</p> Jeffrey Lane Fanny Anne Ramirez Desmond Upton Patton Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11256 #UNMASKEDSELFIESINSOLIDARITY: FROM SELF<IE> CARE TO COLLECTIVE CARE—AFFECTIVE ARTIVISM, NETWORKED BELONGING AND MOBILE MEDIA PARTICIPATORY ART. https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11257 <p>Contemporary mobile media affords new insights into the social, critical, cultural and creative practice methods. With the continual rise of social practice in art which sees the “social” and “experience” as the medium, smartphones have become an increasingly important device for information dissemination, collective dialogue and poetic expression. This paper considers these insights through the lively and multivalent discussion of participatory art project entitled $2 (2020) as case study. It is situated within the community of **** University international students, local students, staff and friends during the recent outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, a global health event that has had significant socio-cultural, economic, and political impacts. It employs one of the most pervasive barometers of popular culture today, the selfie. Moving through related topics such as facial recognition and digital parenting, the $2 team recognise that now more than ever, we need transformative work to engage in collective care. In essence, this project has created an affective listening network to make the unheard heard, to voice personal concerns, and to show empathy for the broader community affected by this global health crisis. $2 openly supports international students caught in the crossfire of strict new travel restrictions imposed by the Government. We critically reflect on how art is a socially transformative process, through its messages of care alongside messages from Chinese students suffering anxiety and isolation, waiting for the travel bans to be lifted, a tempering of the stigma and racism accompanying the coronavirus event here in $2 .</p> Klare Louise Lanson Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11257 SOCIAL MEDIA INSECURITIES IN EVERYDAY LIFE AMONG YOUNG ADULTS – AN ETHNOGRAPHY OF ANONYMOUS JODEL DISCLOSURES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11258 <p>This paper analyzes what makes young adults feel insecure when they use social media in everyday life as a means to socialize and connect with peers. The analysis is based on a two-year online ethnography (Hine, 2015) conducted on Jodel, an anonymous location based social media app popular among young adults across Europe. The paper focuses on Jodel users’ anonymous disclosures about their social media related insecurities – shedding light on discourses related to social media practices that are often hidden or neglected in interview studies. The analysis finds that it is often the affordances of the social media platforms (Bucher &amp; Helmond, 2018) or changes in the design of apps such as Snapchat, Instagram or Tinder that lead to feelings of insecurity or uncertainty in relational maintenance or in the forming of new relationships. Thus, the codes of everyday actions become unclear and different expectations as to the affordances of social media platforms result in diffuse interaction orders (Goffman, 1983) in various situations. Put in other words: Because of the platforms, young adults sometimes find it difficult to know why peers behave like they do online resulting in unfounded worries and feelings of insecurity.</p> Malene Charlotte Larsen Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11258 NEUROTIC INFLUENCER – FEELING RULES AND THE AFFECTIVE PRACTICE OF ANXIETY IN SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER WORK https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11259 <p>Through in-depth qualitative interviews of four Finnish influencer mothers and online observation of their social media accounts, the presentation asks how influencers negotiate the feeling rules that govern (maternal) femininity on social media and attempt to cope with the emotional weight of precarious social media work. My data do not allow for the possibility of generalization but are rich, nuanced, and offer insight into ambivalent lived experiences and emotional pressures of ‘do what you love and love what you do’ ethic where emotional investment in one’s work encompasses all areas of life. The talk suggests that although anxiety can be considered a negative side effect of stressful social media work, sharing it on social media can also be understood as a tactic that plays a central role in the lifestyle influencer industry. I argue for using the affective practice (Wetherell, 2012, 2014) of anxiety as a theoretical concept to explore the influencers’ routinized emotional behaviour in their attempts to decrease the discrepancy between their emotions and cultural expectations. Drawing on Vik Loveday’s (2018) analysis of the “neurotic academic”, I suggest that the construction of an entrepreneurial influencer self is underpinned by anxiety. This argument is formulated through the figure of the “neurotic influencer” that is the embodiment of the ambivalent nature of gendered influencer work. Anxiety strives the influencers to exceed themselves all the while creating relatable social media subjects.</p> Mari Tellervo Lehto Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11259 ONE APP, TWO VERSIONS: TIKTOK AND THE PLATFORMIZATION FROM CHINA https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11260 <p>By developing two versions of the same platform, TikTok manages to establish its business in two highly distinctive platform ecosystems. It represents the process of ‘platformization from China’ – the penetration of platform logics developed in the techno-political economy of China into the global society. Domestically the disruptive and infrastructural nature of the platform power is intermingled with and subject to Chinese state power, evidenced by the both restrictive (e.g. censorship) and promotional policies for internet economy. At the same time, the missing agenda to account for user privacy and civil rights in the online spaces also gives legislative immunity to Chinese platforms in advancing techniques of datafication and commodification. This uncanny system of governance fosters a highly innovative and commercialized platform ecology domestically to meet with regulatory requirements of the authorities, the financial interests of the capital and the monetary and expressive expectations of the users. However, these platform logics developed in the Chinese context seem to contradict the governing values of the international platform societies. Although internationally TikTok has adopted a more restrained approach in its affordances, commodification and content moderation, the platform remains susceptible for its potential supposed connection to the Chinese state and the concomitant censorship policy. If platforms developed in the American-centric ecosystem can easily identify themselves as global, then the challenge for Chinese platforms going global lies always on this figurative ‘Chineseness’, which is not necessarily defined by the content and culture, but by the techno-political logics embedded in the affordances and operational mechanisms.</p> Jian Lin Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11260 IN THE RING AND ONLINE: RELATIONAL LABOR AND AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT IN THE WWE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11261 <p>Professional wrestling has long been of interest to cultural and media theorists (Barthes, 2015; Canella, 2016; Olson, 2018). Long before reality TV, the performativity and scripted drama of professional wrestling allowed theorists to unpack questions of fictionality and narrative authenticity. In the context of internet studies, professional wrestling raises additional questions: How do performers use social media to maintain relationships with fans? How do gender norms manifest in on-stage versus online performances of professional identity? In this extended abstract, I present key concepts and guiding research questions for an investigation of fan culture and gender norms. I then provide a brief overview of related work and describe my mixed-methods approach. As this research project is ongoing, I present preliminary findings and implications as a concluding section.</p> Jessa Lingel Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11261 OBJECTIFYING THE PLATFORM SOCIETY: INVESTIGATING USERS’ PERCEPTION OF SMART SPEAKERS' ALGORITHMIC SUGGESTIONS AND DATA PROCESSING https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11262 <p>Smart speakers are one the latest products of platforms and have the capability to quickly connect platforms, algorithms, people, and households together. The frame of $2 was developed to understand the agency of platforms (corporations based on technological infrastructures guided by algorithms) that have influence on the whole society itself. We can argue, thus, that smart speakers can be conceptualized as devices that objectify the logics of platform society into households because they are produced and programmed by a platform that provides also the operating system and the personal assistant installed, becoming an extension of the platform itself. Due to the fast diffusion of smart speakers, there is the need to investigate their adoption process and user’s perception of algorithmic selection and data processing. The research here presented was one of the first about the subject in Italy and studied the diffusion of smart speakers in Italy with a multi-sided methodology. It let to investigate also the role of smart speakers in reproducing the power of algorithms into households. Research results showed that users were taking for granted some algorithmic logic and appreciated it (like for basic information search or for music selection). They indicated also that the mechanisms of voice interaction made clear some limits of the algorithmic customization and led users to start to be more conscious of it (for example about news selection or vocal search for purchases) and to elaborate strategies to reduce its influence.</p> Elisabetta Locatelli Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11262 EXPLORING NETWORKED IDENTITY AND TRANSNATIONAL MOBILIZATION IN UKRAINE’S EUROMAIDAN PROTEST https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11263 <p>Social media are a prominent space for diasporic mobilization and activism, opening new avenues for studying transnational communities living outside of their countries of origin. This study uses a hybrid methodological approach to consider how Ukrainians living in the United States engaged with homeland politics during the 2013-2014 Euromaidan protest and how their use of social media intervened in their transnational protest politics. This study contributes to the broader scholarship on studying transnational mediated protest participation by examining a case of diasporic mobilization of the Ukrainian community in the United States. Triangulating semantic mapping data from online diasporic communities on Facebook with in-depth interviews, we show how diaspora members engaged in the protest despite distance and how their activity and tactical decisions were mediated by social networks. We specifically examine how diasporic personal networks and networked technologies enmesh into a set of hybrid networked practices, circumscribing how Ukrainian Americans interpret political engagement and how they strategically use the affordances of social media for protest participation.</p> Tetyana Lokot Olga Boichak Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11263 LIVENESS AND DEADNESS IN SOCIAL MEDIA: ON THE PERCEIVED LACK OF LIFE OF THE INFINITE STREAM https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11265 <p>Social media fuel a sense of constant updating to encourage uninterrupted connectivity and generate quantifiable engagement. This paper is concerned with the habitual character acquired by these platforms, and with how this is paradoxically constructed by prompting a permanent state of anticipation. The aim is to explore, with a phenomenological sensibility, the experiences that emerge in settings of continuous connectedness from the perspective of the people who use these technologies in the context of everyday life – i.e. the ‘users’. Theoretically, the entry point is to revisit the claim of liveness and to position it as a central resource in this process. Empirically, I draw from the thematic analysis of data collected through the diary-interview method with people who live in London and use a range of social media to examine both how this urge of continuous connectedness operates and the ambivalent experiences it generates. I discuss, in particular, the finding that the use of social media is often described as aimless and pointless – which means that, in a research centrally concerned with liveness (with what feels animated, pulsating, injected with life), one of the most commonly observed experiences is that of deadness, lifelessness. This lack of life of social media is described both as a result of the presence of too many potentially interesting things, and as the platforms’ incapacity to deliver anything interesting at all.</p> Ludmila Lupinacci Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11265 “EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED FOR A GOOD NIGHT’S REST”: TRANSACTIONAL TINGLES AND ASMR AS EMERGING MEDIA GENRE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11266 <p>ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, has become an international phenomenon. But what exactly ASMR is remains misunderstood. ASMR itself is a relatively new term, coined by scientists in 2010, but it describes an age-old feeling: the sensation of tingling on the scalp and spine. Biologically, it has been compared to fission or paresthesia. ASMRtists refer to this feeling as tingles. To this end, this research is informed by the results of a three-year long participant observation and ethnographic study in YouTube’s ASMR community in order to analyze ASMR as an emerging media genre. I argue ASMR is best understood as a genre, situated between the varying content possibilities of the text and the specific affordances of YouTube. By analyzing the relationship between platform governance, algorithms, monetization, care, and creativity, I identify a key component of the ASMR genre as transactional tingles. I define transactional tingles as the interaction between ASMRtist and viewer, in which the viewer receives a form of relaxation in exchange for clicks, likes, and views in the internet’s attention economy. , ASMR and transactional tingles have more in common with the artist/patron system of the Renaissance era or the Kickstarter campaigns of the twenty-first century, in which entertainers draw on their audiences for financial support. The culmination of my ethnography was the announcement of the ASMR app, Zees, which shows how creators harness the affordances of participatory culture to push the boundaries of genres while maintaining committed to the key principles for creator and viewer.</p> Jessica Maddox Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11266 NON-HUMAN HUMANITARIANISM: WHEN AI FOR GOOD TURNS OUT TO BE BAD https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11267 <p>Artificial intelligence (AI) applications such as predictive analytics, forecasting and chatbots are increasingly proposed as solutions to the complex challenges of humanitarian emergencies. This is part of the broad trend of ‘AI for social good’ as well as the wider developments in ‘digital humanitarianism’. The paper develops an interdisciplinary framework that brings together colonial and decolonial theory, the critical inquiry of humanitarianism and development, critical algorithm studies as well as a sociotechnical understanding of AI. Drawing on a review of current humanitarian AI applications as well as interviews with stakeholders, our analysis suggests that several initiatives fail their own objectives. However, this should not mean that these innovations do not have powerful consequences. Automation reproduces human biases whilst removing human judgement from situations, potentially further marginalizing disadvantaged populations. We observe a transformation of humanitarian work as technology separates officers from the consequences of their actions. At the same time, AI initiatives are cloaked in a discourse of inherent progress and an aura of ‘magic’. Rather than democratizing the relationships between humanitarian providers and suffering subjects, digital technology reaffirms the power asymmetries associated with traditional humanitarianism. The non-human aspects of AI humanitarianism reveal, rework and amplify existing deficiencies of humanitarianism. The hype generated by humanitarian innovation appears to have more direct benefits for commercial stakeholders, rather than affected populations. Ultimately, by turning complex political problems like displacement and hunger into problems with technical solutions, AI depoliticizes humanitarian emergencies.</p> Mirca Madianou Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11267 HEALTH DEBATES ON SOCIAL MEDIA: LINKING DIGITAL HEALTH TO COMMUNICATION AND AI STUDIES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11268 <p>Drawing on the examples of three current health debates on Twitter revolving around the hashtags #medicalcannabis, #covid19 and #vaccinationervirker (in English: vaccinations work), this paper explores the broader theoretical question how we may expand the notion of ‘health data’ to include health debates and discussions on social media, and further how these can be linked to concepts of digital health data assemblages and communicative others. By combing insights from AI and communication studies and STS, as well as insights into the human-data relationship from digital health studies, the paper theoretically links digital data assemblages with communication theory which provides tools to think about health data as relational and communicative. With this, social media data becomes relevant in a new light, not only for media scientists, but also for understanding health practices in a digital age more generally. The paper discusses issues this theoretical perspective raises for researchers of social media and online health engagement; what challenges and possibilities this provides in relation to studying social media discussions on health; and finally, an overview of analytical strategies and empirical fields from which these perspectives may be studied.</p> Martina Skrubbeltrang Mahnke Katrine Meldgaard Kjær Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11268 THE GREAT RANDOMIZER: USING VIRTUAL AGENTS FOR AUDITING THE EFFECTS OF YOUTUBE RECOMMENDATION ALGORITHM ON IDEOLOGICALLY-CHARGED NEWS CONTENT DISTRIBUTION https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11269 <p>In this paper, we examine the effects of the YouTube recommendation algorithm on the distribution of ideologically-charged news content. For that purpose, we develop a research infrastructure and conduct a series of experiments using virtual agents (n=200) in a fully controlled environment. We specifically look at YouTube recommendations for videos related to the far-right terrorist attack in the German city of Halle in 2019 and examine how these recommendations differ depending on the type and political affiliation of videos watched by the agents. We find that YouTube recommendations are highly randomized that leads to fundamentally different recommendation trajectories under the condition of identical agent activity which was also synchronized to isolate the effect of time. We also find significant discrepancies in recommendations generated in browsers, with the recommendations for Firefox being slightly less randomized than those for Chrome. Finally, our observations suggest that the recommendations for the agents starting with right-leaning news videos are marginally more consistent than those for the mainstream and left-leaning videos.</p> Mykola Makhortykh Aleksandra Urman Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11269 ECHOLOCATING THE DIGITAL SELF: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11272 <p>This paper explores echolocation as a conceptual framework to extend our understanding of digital sociality. Echolocation is a process whereby the characteristics of an echo build a map of location and relation. Most often we think of how bats, whales, and dolphins echolocate to navigate. If we think of radar, sonar, or lidar, we might think of submarines, autonomous vehicles, or even geolocation on our mobile devices. In this paper, I discuss echolocation as a symbolic interaction framework for describing how the Self is negotiated and identified in and as a part of social space. It focuses attention on the character and function of pings, push notifications, red dots on device screens, and other responses in ongoing interactions between people in social media or between humans and nonhuman or more than human elements of media ecologies. The interpretive qualitative analysis is part of a six year ethnographic study of youth. The analysis of echolocation emerges from a subset of the larger study, those who feel anxiety and even existential vulnerability when disconnected. Based on this qualitative analysis of narratives, the paper builds and extends echolocation as a theory of digital sociality that pays close attention to the response versus the performance in the interaction model.</p> Annette N Markham Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11272 COUNTERING THE COUNTERPUBLIC? THE GERMAN #METOO NETWORK ON TWITTER https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11274 <p>Certain varieties of feminism have become more popular, and so have anti-feminist reactions to it with both sides competing for visibility. However, the (gendered) interplay between feminist and anti-feminist counterpublics is still uncharted. At the same time, research in the field of feminist media studies is beginning to address questions of power inequalities $2 feminist publics on social media platforms. This study sheds light on the networked structure of the German-language #MeToo protest on Twitter in order to reveal who succeeded in becoming visible and influential in this digital protest and in order to show differences in networking practices among those involved. Analyzing the Twitter interaction network around #MeToo over a period of three month, we find that – as expected – this network consists of some highly connected hubs and a majority of nodes with only few connections. The most central nodes, only 1.1 percent of the Twitter users involved, account for 35 percent of interactions within the network. Applying qualitative and quantitative content analyses, this study shows that Twitter accounts of traditional news media play a central role in the #MeToo network from the very beginning, indicating that protest networks are less equal and horizontal than often assumed. At the same time, k-core decomposition reveals that most Twitter users in the network’s core published mostly racist and anti-feminist content, indicating that few but very loud and well-connected voices used the #MeToo protest to strategically mobilize against migration in Germany and Austria.</p> Franziska Martini Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11274 LIVING WITH ROBOTS: AN ONTOLOGICAL LEAP? https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11275 <p>Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics applications have proliferated primarily in the industrial sphere, and social scientific studies emphasized robots’ functionality and appropriateness for certain roles, especially those related to work and most particularly to robots replacing humans’ jobs. Notably, robot studies are often premised on negative prognostications, emphasizing how robots threaten livelihoods and are disruptive. As AI and robot technologies advance, however, more positive possibilities arise for robots’ social integration. However, there is an ontological divide between humans and machines that will likely influence people’s responses to and interactions with these emerging technologies. People may logically know and intend to treat robots as mere technological tools, but reflexively respond to them socially. This study explores these possible dynamics and examines how people perceive robots as social and human-like entities. A qualitative analysis of open-ended comments (N=591) collected through a survey on robot perceptions was conducted. Five main themes about social life with robots were revealed: robot as tool/machine (32.5% of comments), human-robot relationships (26.9%), social adjustment (19.0%), robot rights (10.7%), and robots’ aliveness/appearance (10.0%). The findings show that human-robot ontology is an important consideration for robots’ social acceptance and integration. AI-supported robotic technology presents great promise; however, its advancement challenges the ontological divide that has implications not only for human-machine interaction but also for self-identity and ultimately human-human relations. In terms of suggestions, these dynamics should be explored in tandem with ways to improve human-machine communication and considered from usability and design standpoints.</p> Kate K. Mays Yiming Lei James E. Katz Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11275 CAREFUL ATTUNEMENTS: THE CHOREOGRAPHING OF CARE THROUGH SMARTPHONE PRACTICES DURING, AND AFTER, CRISIS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11276 <p>In this paper we explore how smartphone users in Victoria (Australia) used mobile and non-mobile media to find and manage information, emotions and networks during the 2019-2020 Australian summer bushfire crisis. Through arts-based methods that deployed drawing, critical reflection and group discussion, we sought to use techniques that elicit the emotional responses and motivations of our participants in and after the crisis. We draw on the concept of affective witnessing (Papailias, 2016; Richardson and Schankweiler, 2019) as a process whereby the boundaries between mourner and witness blur through the affective intensity of mobile media. We contextualise affective witnessing in terms of feminist materialism of care practices (Pols, 2012; Puig de la Bellacasa, 2011; Lupton and Hjorth, forthcoming) to focus on the importance of taking seriously care—care at a distance of family and friends, self-care and care of intimate digital publics.</p> Caitlin McGrane Larissa Hjorth Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11276 HUMAN-MACHINE WRITING AND THE ETHICS OF LANGUAGE MODELS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11277 <p>Increasingly, online information is produced by AI-based writing systems such as the Washington Post newswriting bot, Heliograf; Narrative Science's report writing app, Quill; Persado’s marketing copy app, and chat and twitterbots too numerous to name. What are the implications—for us, for our society—as we enter the age of AI writing systems, an era moving rapidly toward a world in which writing is produced mostly by machines rather than humans? What are the ethical implications of these developments? Our research on AI-based writing systems is based on (1) critical analysis of the systems themselves and on (2) interviews with the designers and users of these systems. Our analysis draws from the field of machine ethics, as well as communication/language theory. In our presentation we will discuss several AI-writing systems (e.g., GPT-2, Persado, Quill, Google Compose), focusing especially on the language model or "informational framework" (Russo, 2018) that supports their operation. What our research reveals, so far, is that, not surprisingly, these systems are more effective (and ethical) handling well-defined tasks in bounded spaces, with well-established genre conventions, clearly identified audience needs and expectations, and predictable interaction scripts. What we also see is that too often the language models employed are based on a reductive, formalist model of text generation. AI-writing system designers need to move beyond formalist, linear input/output models to more complex social models that account for the broader contexts, including the ethical codes, in which communications arise and circulate.</p> Heidi A. McKee James E. Porter Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11277 BAD ATTACHMENTS: EMAIL AND QUEER ANTI-CENSORSHIP PROTESTS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11278 <p>This paper examines a 1996 U.S. internet censorship protest that encouraged users to email a series of technically “indecent” files as attachments to Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich using an online email generator. These attachments were: a list of abortion clinics, a graphic illustration of condom-use instructions, and excerpted sexually explicit scenes from Gingrich’s own novel, 1945. Selecting from a drop-down menu, senders chose their attachments, completed a personalized message, and clicked send, all within a web-based form. By using the platform to inundate the Speaker’s email with attachments, senders cleverly broke the censorship provisions of the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA), putting themselves at risk to the criminalization of sexual expression online. The “bad attachments” protest grew out of the fact that online information about sexuality was vital to marginalized communities with limited access to other kinds of information channels—including queer and rural youth, and people living with HIV. This paper argues that the protest attachments constitute a queer, material digital practice, attuned to the political demand for ready information access as a means of survival.</p> Cait McKinney Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11278 EXPLORING THE LIFE OF PATIENT DATA IN THE UK HEALTHCARE SECTOR https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11279 <p>In “the datafication era” the nature of data and the ways in which data is collected, processed, and shared is being drastically transformed. In the UK healthcare sector, patient data is being used in new ways and moved across different settings. Patient data is used to deliver care to patients, but at the same time is increasingly also being used for purposes beyond the direct care of patients, for example: healthcare planning, development of policy, research in academic institutions, as well as uses outside the health care sector such as for commercial and immigration enforcement purposes. The use of patient data in certain contexts outside the healthcare sector is certainly a matter of concern for the society, as it can raise significant privacy and power issues. In the context of increasing concern about privacy and power around health data, this research is an in-depth qualitative study of health “data journeys” examining the enablers and frictions of data flowing from the NHS to various academic institutions to be reused for research purposes. The research seeks to generate new knowledge about how and why socio-cultural factors shape patient data flows within the healthcare sector, and what this means for how data flows bring patient into different forms of relation with other social actors. These insights will be used to develop recommendations for “just” practices in data sharing to make patient data flows within the health sector more clear and transparent for the public.</p> Itzelle Aurora Medina Perea A Cox J Bates Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 RESISTING TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION: THE DIGITAL SECURITY PRACTICES OF DIASPORA AND EXILED HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11280 <p>For diaspora activists in transnational networks, digital media play a crucial role to mobilize and advocate against authoritarian regimes in their country of origin. Yet the reliance on these technologies creates multiple points of exposure that state actors exploit to silence and punish dissent from abroad. While research has exposed the technical underpinnings of digital attacks targeting civil society, less is known on how potential targets perceive and respond to these threats. Using more than 50 interviews with exiled human rights defenders and journalists from Egypt, Syria and Iran, this paper investigates risk perceptions and security practices of activists in transnational networks. It shows that rather than on nuanced risk assessment, digital security decisions and behavior are often built on the “imagined affordances” of digital technologies for surveillance and information control. The paper argues that the complexity of digital tools and constantly evolving risks thus only work to aggravate activists’ uncertainty regarding the capabilities of the state actors threatening them, reinforcing the silencing effects of transnational repression. Networks of incident response, support and information sharing, in turn, will help to strengthen the digital resilience of transnational civil society.</p> Marcus Michaelsen Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11280 TEMPORAL FRAMES FOR PLATFORM PUBLICS: THE PLATFORMIZATION OF BREADTUBE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11281 <p>In this paper we suggest the notion of $2 to account for the intermingling of socio-technical processes that make online platforms (in this case: YouTube) resistant to stable definitions. It has been over a decade of YouTube studies and yet, a consensus on what precisely YouTube is seems unlikely. Arguably, Burgess and Green began this ontological quest with the first edition of YouTube (2008) in which they set out ‘to work through some of the often-competing ideas about just what YouTube is.” (iv) Snickars and Vondereau (2009) considered the “ontological ambivalence” (2009, p. 28) of YouTube to be an asset since the platform’s success was rooted in its flexibility as a stage for content. Following work attempted to understand YT as a ‘new screen ecology’ (Cunningham 2016); through its platform logics of monetization and viewership (Postigo 2015, Van Es 2020); as a contested space between creators, content and audience (Berryman and Kavka 2018, Bishop 2018; 2019); and as a database, often implementing scraping and other computational techniques to account for its nature as vast graph network of content (Airoldi et al. 2016) with internal algorithmic dynamic - for instance the preference of “YT-native” content over mainstream actors within its search and recommendations (Rieder et al. 2018). We abandon the ontological stability of YT as singular and instead present it from a post-representational (Thrift 2008) and temporally-orientated (Adam 2008) perspective. Using BreadTube as a case study, we refrain from asking what YT is, but rather $2 YT happens.</p> Aikaterini Mniestri Alex Gekker Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11281 “TUMBLR TOLD ME…”: THE POLITICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF CONCEPTUALIZING SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS AS LIVING ACTORS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11282 <p>This paper takes up the question of how “platform” can be understood when it comes to studies of digital discourse. I posit that this is an empirical and ethnographic question, rather than a purely theoretical one. Regardless of how scholars theorize social media platforms and other technologies, the people interacting with those technologies already have their own emic conceptualizations of what that technology is and how it functions and those understandings shape their social media experiences. This paper aims to explore the stakes of such local conceptualizations. I argue that many of tumblr.com's most active users conceptualize the social media platform as a living actor — a dynamic and agentive entity $2 whom these young people interact, rather than a space $2 which they interact or a medium $2 which they interact. Attending to this particular understanding of Tumblr-as-actor is crucial because it has so intimately shaped the processes by which my research participants have come to take up new political-ethical commitments and identities through their engagement with the platform. However, I suggest that new methodological approaches for the study of digital discourse are required if scholars are to truly take seriously an understanding of platform as agentive figure. To this end, I argue for the use of audio-visual screen capture technologies that concurrently record the content on a screen alongside the bodies of users themselves for analyzing in-the-moment interactions between user and platform.</p> Michelle Morgenstern Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11282 A TALE OF TWO TWITTERS? IDENTIFYING BRIDGES BETWEEN LANGUAGE BASED TWITTERSPHERES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11283 <p>Global political developments – such as Brexit, climate change, or forced migration – are entangled with communication that transcends national publics. Meanwhile, the EU’s integrity suffers, also due to polarised online discourses, which are sometimes actively manipulated. Therefore, an overview of online communication beyond language barriers is essential. However, whether and how online media create a global space that sustains deliberation of national and global interests by citizens, remains understudied. We approach this problem by exploring relations between the Italian and German Twittersphere, while asking: 1) What is the macrostructure of this bilingual network? 2) Are there bridges between these language communities in the form of single accounts and how can they be described? 3) Are there bridges in the form of groups and what are they tweeting about? We build on an innovative network crawling strategy for language-based Twitter follow networks. We developed it further to combine strengths of rank degree, snowball, and forest fire sampling. Thereby, we collect a network sample of the most central accounts in the Italian-German Twittersphere. Preliminary results suggest a bridging quality of soccer and connections between political clusters of both languages by EU politicians. Furthermore, larger network clusters connect mainly with one linguistic domain while smaller communities show a bridging behaviour. The final paper will present results of months of data collection, focusing on the relation between topics discussed within clusters and their connectivity. While it focuses on the German-Italian Twittersphere, our methods open up new avenues of enquiry regarding multi-language public spheres.</p> Felix Victor Münch Luca Rossi Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11283 NOSTALGIA FOR THE NEW: VIDEO GAME "REMAKES" AND THE LIMITS OF REFLECTION https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11286 <p>In this paper I consider comments posted on the official trailers of Final Fantasy VII Remake and Yakuza Kiwami (from the verified Playstation YouTube channel) as iterations of nostalgia within the context of fifth- and sixth-generation digital game “remakes,” where the narrative and characters (Mäyrä’s (2008) “shell”) of the original game have been retained, but the game’s engine and mechanics (Mäyrä’s “core”) have been wholly replaced with modern technology. Using these comments, I attempt to place responses to these games into Garda’s (2013) nostalgia continuum as a way of testing the possibilities and limitations of “nostalgia” as a framework for understanding AAA remakes.</p> Indira Neill Hoch Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11286 DISRUPTIVE HUMOUR: A CITIZEN PERSPECTIVE IN SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES FROM MASS PROTESTS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11288 <p>In this research we ask which role humorous social media images play for the representation of political protest in social media. To do so, we collected tweets (n=678946) based on protest hashtags from the G20 protests in Hamburg July 6-8 2017. With a social network analysis we find that while we can see clusters around user accounts of activist collectives, media institutions, and authorities (such as the Hamburg police), we cannot observe a network centred around user accounts of residents of Hamburg. As seemingly neutral humorous perspectives which do neither take the side of the activists or the authorities, these images seem to be shared across various clusters in the network. Yet, these are among the most frequently shared tweets based on number of retweets and mentions. Through a narrative analysis of the most frequently shared tweets with a particular focus on such humorous juxtapositions of the protests and the everyday life of residents, we find that these seemingly apolitical images and videos shared across communities, still play a disruptive role in the narrative about political protest. We argue that the privileging of humorous content that users are perhaps more inclined to share in social media than political messages, activists’ grievances or violent imagery, might (while not actively taking sides) push activists’ grievances in the background and make their actions appear as disruptive. With these findings, this research contributes to furthering our understanding of how the logics of social media might influence narratives of contemporary protests.</p> Christina Neumayer Luca Rossi Minna S. Jensen Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11288 THE ‘SEARCH-FOR METHOD’: EXAMINING INSTANCES OF SUPPORT IN FACEBOOK GROUPS FOR DONOR-CONCEIVED PEOPLE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11289 <p>Facebook groups represent an important resource for donor-conceived people to access information, seek advice and share their experiences with their peers. Limited research has considered how donor-conceived people create supportive relationships with peers through social media or how this form of social support contributes to donor-conceived people’s health and wellbeing. This work in progress outlines the ‘search-for method’, a practical user-led tool for discussing instances of participation in Facebook groups. The ‘search-for method’ involves inviting participants to search for their name in the search bar of a Facebook group, thereby retrieving data of all instances they have posted in the group. This paper reports on initial findings from applying the ‘search-for method’ to semi-structured interviews with administrators and members (N=30) of Facebook groups for donor-conceived people from across Australia. The ‘search-for method’ enabled the participant and researcher, as co-analysts, to track and examine specific instances of participation and interaction in the group. By scrolling through content on their own device, participants could decide how to frame their stories of support and whether to disclose sensitive information or omit experiences they did not wish to discuss. Broadly, this approach illuminated how individual and collective donor-conceived identities emerged and evolved with and through online group platforms. In doing so, it provided a framework for understanding sociality between donor-conceived peers longitudinally. This paper contributes to understandings of how digital affinities and peer intimacies develop in Facebook groups over time.</p> Giselle Newton Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11289 SOCIAL MEDIA AND MINORITY LANGUAGES IN EVERYDAY LIFE: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF TWO TWITTER CAMPAIGNS PROMOTING THE IRISH LANGUAGE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11290 <p>The Irish language (‘Gaeilge’), although the first official language of the Republic of Ireland, is a minority language in public life. In recent years, social media campaigns have been organised to promote the use of Irish online. In this paper, we analyse two such campaigns (#EDL #Gaeilge; and #TrasnaNadTonnta) and explore how participation in them is connected to everyday practices of media use and meaning making, and how this in turn influences minority language promotion in social media. Drawing on sociolinguistics and media and communication studies, we address the following research question: How can everyday life and media use influence participation in Twitter campaigns that aim to promote the Irish language? We find that the success of each campaign was dependent on the participants identifying connections between the campaigns and their everyday lives. #TrasnaNadTonnta found particular salience among the Irish diaspora, for whom the language is a marker of a unique cultural identity. This Twitter campaign provided a platform for Irish-language users to connect with others across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia – places where the Irish language has not been traditionally spoken. Although the same platform was provided in #EDL2017 #Gaeilge, Irish-language Twitter users did not identify with this campaign to the same extent. We further surmise that the unique hashtag created for #TrasnaNadTonnta, reminiscent of a song sung in childhood, had particular semiotic appeal when compared with the more policy-oriented approach of #EDL2017.</p> Niamh Ní Bhroin Sarah McMonagle Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11290 HUMOR WITHOUT BOUNDARIES? A TYPOLOGY OF GLOBALLY SPREAD HUMOR ON TWITTER https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11291 <p>Our study examines user-generated global humor through an analysis of comic items spread on Twitter. By addressing the inherent conflict between the locality of humor and the globalizing digital participatory sphere, we aim to uncover the features of global user-generated humor. A long-term sample of humor keywords in multiple languages was used to locate 734 items reaching global audiences, which were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively (a subset of 143). We found that such items focused on “the universal,” rather than a multicultural exchange. Additionally, the texts were characterized by five types of comic failures, each accompanied by some form of redemption: $2 – slapstick acts featuring shortcomings in basic human behavior but accompanied by daring attitudes; $2 , displaying “backstage” unattractive behavior but enjoying an aura of authenticity; $2 – lacking popularity or charisma but inviting sympathy; $2 – misinterpreting the world and your place in it but compensating through basic human communicability; and $2 – using nonsense humor that is nevertheless appreciated through communal understanding. Our findings chart the meaning of human failure in the digital age as a balancing act: while individuals fail in fundamental aspects of life, shared laughter through social media offers collective ways for overcoming their failures. This dynamic exists in a liminal space, seeming to existing both everywhere and nowhere. By building on globally recognizable content and situations, global humor evokes empathy or identification from broad crowds without committing to specific identities.</p> Asaf Nissenbaum David Freud Limor Shifman Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11291 THE 'STUFF’ OF LIFE: MATERIAL PLAY AND PERFORMANCE IN DIGITAL VIDEO CULTURES AND CONTEMPORARY ART PRACTICE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11292 <p>Play and performance with materials and objects can be observed as a trope across digital video cultures. Forms such as slime making tutorials, prank stunts, ASMR and unboxing videos employ different forms of interaction that serve to emphasise material form and sensory qualities. Activities can include pouring viscous glue, crushing tin cans, exploding watermelons, nails tapping on plastic or sinking into sand. Sound, visual and material are employed to create a ‘haptic visuality’ (Marks, 2000) as an affective embodied experience. I will analyse these video cultures as presented in the algorithmic context of YouTube and its claim to user-generated content. Through a DIY culture aesthetic and frame, materials are represented as everyday: the 'stuff’ of life. I will unpack the mimetic representation of ‘reality’ through which these videos function, employing Cowie’s concept of ‘desire for the real’ and Auslander’s discussion of ‘liveness’ in a mediated society (Cowie, 2011; Auslander 1999). I will contextualise this discussion in wider visual culture, drawing parallels with historical and contemporary performance art works. In particular the online practices of David Henry Nobody Jr. and Jan Hakon Erikson, which use play with domestic materials, objects and food to provoke abject, sadistic and absurd voyeuristic pleasures. I will discuss how these works reveal, mobilise, parody and subvert such digital video cultures. In this way, I aim to trace and analyse how this sensory play with material works to ‘hook’ the body of the viewer as a means of harnessing affective labour within the digital economies.</p> Katherine Nolan Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11292 GOING IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION: CRITICAL ARTS-BASED APPROACHES TO GOOGLE MAPS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11293 <p>These days, wayfinding is often associated with ‘asking’ Google Maps for directions. Over one billion people per month use Google Maps and Google estimates that one-in-three mobile searches is location-related. Whose routes does Google Maps direct one towards and what types of pathways become naturalized? I approached these questions through performance- and drawing-based research. In the early 1960s, artist Stanley Brouwn stood on a street corner in Amsterdam and asked people for directions with pen and paper in hand. Over the course of the project, Brouwn amassed a collection of hand drawn maps. Now, in contemporary conditions of geomedia, I reactivated Brouwn’s work as an exploratory research project in Toronto, New York City, London, and Amsterdam. I also collected drawings and notes, spontaneously produced in situ, which I analyzed in relation to the location-awareness and real-time feedback of digital mapping technologies. The encounters produced notes and drawings that point to the information literacies used in street-level wayfinding and situate these in relation to the mobilities and spatial perceptions prioritised by Google Maps’ interface and affordances. The paper presents a theoretical framework to assess the types of calibrations at play when proprietary mapping platforms broker spatial information. The paper uses alternative research methods to explore how Google Maps is more than a guide but an orientation towards a Google spatial imaginary while at the same time complicated by the ad hoc layering of other wayfinding strategies.</p> Rebecca Noone Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11293 WEB ARCHIVING AS CULTURE: TUMBLR AND THE CULTURAL CONSTRUCTION OF THE ARCHIVED WEB https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11294 <p>Web archives - broadly conceived as any attempt to capture and preserve the Web for future use - are evermore central to discussions of digital access in the public sphere, as they provide tools for accessing parts of the Web that have been subject to neglect, removal or state and platform-based forms of content moderation and censorship. In this paper I discuss the cultural significance of web archiving through the example of Tumblr’s 2018 efforts to remove so-called ‘Not Safe for Work’ (NSFW) posts from the platform. The paper examines the archiving of Tumblr NSFW by Archive Team, a self-described ‘loose collective of rogue archivists, programmers, writers and loudmouths dedicated to saving our digital heritage’. Findings are presented through the concept of culture which provides a dual lens through which to understand web archiving practices as contingent upon the cultural worlds which they create and operate within. Here, web archiving as culture reveals the ways that practices shape (and are shaped by) online community membership, the nature of how and why the Web is archived and the reflexive significance participants place on their own web archival activities. The paper contributes to broader discussions of online community formation and raises further questions about the ethics and role of power in the production of web archives, as well as their positioning as historical representations of online cultures.</p> Jessica Ogden Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11294 FIRM DISCOURSES AND DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11296 <p>Free and open source software (a.k.a. FOSS or ‘digital infrastructure’) is now fully integrated into commercial ecosystems. IT firms invest in FOSS in order (a) to share with other firms development costs; (b) to help attract prospective employees in a competitive job market where hiring skilled IT professionals is challenging and (c) to shape the governance and technical orientation of projects: firm employees participating in leading in FOSS projects may help IT firms create digital infrastructure more suited to the firmware they develop atop this infrastructure. How does the world of FOSS volunteers connect to the world of commercial ecosystems? Are firms developing policies in relation to open source communities, requesting projects conform to certain technical or behavioral standards, for example? To what extent are these strategies successful? To answer, we present a qualitative analysis of firm discourses collected during three open source conferences. We then analyze the email discussion lists of Linux and Firefox and search for the occurrence of key firm discourse terms in order to ascertain in what way these discourses are being used by FOSS developers. Our in-depth analysis of firm discourses and exploratory analysis of project discussions around these terms show that the FOSS world encompasses a diversity of industrial outlooks. They also highlight the evolution of the role of foundations: whilst foundations used to protect projects from firm interference, some have now wholly been placed in the service of firm efforts to standardize project work, particularly around the key issue of security.</p> Mathieu O'Neil Laure Muselli Stefano Zacchiroli Xiaolan Cai Frederic Pailler Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11296 EASY DATA, USUAL SUSPECTS, SAME OLD PLACES? A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF METHODOLOGICAL APPROACHES IN DIGITAL ACTIVISM RESEARCH BETWEEN 1995-2019 https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11298 <p>Burgess and Bruns (2015) have linked the computational turn in social media research to a rise in studies that focus exclusively on ‘easy’ data, such as the ‘low hanging fruit’ provided by Twitter hashtags. This paper set out to explore whether this preponderance of easy data and studies focused on the 2011-12 protests is evident in research between 1995 and 2019 through a systematic review of digital activism literature (N = 1444). A particular focus of the review was the extent to which digital activism research revolved around the use of computational digital methods, case studies based in Europe and North America and data gathered from single online platforms (e.g. Twitter). The review showed that most of these studies focused on social movements, campaigns, activists, and parties based in the United Kingdom and United States, and were conducted by researchers based in universities in these countries. In contrast, there were relatively few articles addressing activism, institutions and platforms in non-Western /Global South contexts with the exception of the Arab Spring in 2011. In terms of methodological approaches, traditional research methods and big data digital methods studies were prevalent. In response to the easy data hypothesis, the study found that Twitter was the most researched platform in the corpus, but that digital methods were not as commonly deployed in these articles as traditional methods. Thus, the paper concludes argues in favor of greater diversity in digital activism research in terms of its methods, participants, and countries of origin.</p> Suay Melisa Ozkula Paul Reilly Jennifer Hayes Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11298 CYBERLIBERTARIANISM IN THE MID-1990S https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11299 <p>This paper analyzes libertarian internet discourse in the mid-1990s, focusing on the events surrounding the passage of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which criminalized obscene and indecent content on the internet. During this episode, hackers, early adopters, computer professionals, technology lobbyists, and civil society advocates embraced a libertarian way of thinking about the internet and the state — a way of thinking I refer to as cyberlibertarianism. These groups had long-standing libertarian dispositions, although their anti-statism ranged from a left-libertarianism, concerned with concentrations of power in the state and in the market, to a civil-libertarianism, concerned with the integrity of constitutional protections, to a right-libertarianism, concerned with laissez-faire market conditions. In responding to the events of the decade, and following from their established dispositions, these groups converged on a libertarian narrative about the internet and the state. According this narrative, the state was overbearing, intrusive, compromised, and uninformed — and therefore a threat to the internet as a sphere of freedom, individualism, competition, and innovation. This libertarian narrative structured their arguments against specific acts of state intervention. In the case of the Communications Decency Act, they argued that the regulatory measure undermined the promise of the internet as a venue of free speech, an object of the free market, and a conduit for the free flow of information.</p> Jonathan Pace Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11299 INVASIVE YET INEVITABLE? PRIVACY NORMALIZATION TRENDS IN EMERGING TECHNOLOGY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11300 <p>In the last few years, smart security and physical identification technologies have grown exponentially; people are increasingly installing smart video devices to monitor their homes and buying DNA kits to collect and analyze their genetics. As the number of users and profits of these businesses increase, so too does the potential for privacy violations and exploitation. To explore these dynamics of privacy in emerging technology, we conducted a U.S. nationally representative survey (N=1,587) and asked respondents for their perceptions of a number of emerging technologies such as facial recognition, DNA collection and biometrics monitoring. We also measured individual-level traits that have been found to influence technology acceptance. The results show that the actor wielding the technology matters for people’s acceptance. Respondents were overall more comfortable with public officials and airlines using more invasive technologies to guarantee people’s safety, as compared to private companies or non-profits using data for research. When keeping the actor constant across privacy technologies, there was an overwhelming preference for less invasive means of privacy data sharing. These findings indicate how the concept of normalization, social context and agents of control play a critical role in the way people accept emerging technology into their lives.</p> Sejin Paik Kate K. Mays Rebecca F. Giovannetti James E. Katz Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11300 THE CONSTRUCTION OF ALTERNATIVE FACTS: DARK PARTICIPATION AND KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION IN THE QANON CONSPIRACY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11302 <p>QAnon is a right-wing conspiracy theory based on a series of posts (“Drops”) made to the imageboard 8chan by “Q”, an anonymous poster who claims to be a Trump administration insider and encourages their followers (“Bakers”) to conduct research to interpret and find hidden truths (“Bread”) behind current events. In this paper, we argue that QAnon Bakers adopt a “scientistic self” by producing and maintaining specific facts and theories that enable the conspiracy’s social and political cohesion over time. Rather than dismissing Q researchers’ conclusions out of hand, we adopt science studies’ symmetry principle to consider the tools and techniques of Baking. We argue that the institutional character of Baking distinguishes QAnon from other online conspiracy communities, which primarily rely on anecdotal evidence or sow doubt in scientific consensuses. Q, by contrast, research is intended to produce certainty through the systematic construction of alternative facts. In making this argument, we share and build upon other scholars’ critiques of participatory media. Indeed, we conclude that it is precisely the participatory affordances of the social web that have made QAnon so potent.</p> William Clyde Partin Alice Emily Marwick Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11302 ONE OF THESE THINGS_IS_LIKE THE OTHERS: WHAT BIG TECH PLATFORMS CAN LEARN FROM LIBRARIES, BOOKSTORES, AND SUPERMARKETS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11303 <p>Large technology platforms are facing mounting public pressure to be more transparent and proactive about their approach to content moderation. Existing research on platform governance often focuses on the ways in which the platforms are unprecedented (e.g., their size, scale, and use of algorithmic systems to sort and filter information), and thus contend with unique challenges as they attempt to manage their outsize role in shaping the contemporary public sphere. However, their distinctive features notwithstanding, platforms are currently grappling with questions that have long been fundamental to democracies with heavily marketized media systems. How can information intermediaries best operate in the public interest? Can for-profit platforms reconcile their private interests with the public good? Through what kinds of organizational infrastructures and shared value systems might this reconciliation be accomplished? Using a comparative case study approach, this paper addresses these questions by examining institutions that have historically inhabited a structural position in the public information landscape that is similar to large technology platforms. Specifically, we look at how bookstores, libraries, and supermarkets decide what to stock on their shelves and magazine racks, and how they respond when controversies arise. The study maps several considerations each of these intermediaries have faced in order to develop a typology of approaches to information curation and moderation. By examining a variety of oft-overlooked approaches to information curation and outlining their respective benefits and drawbacks, we hope to contribute a historical and conceptual perspective to scholarly and industry conversations about platform governance.</p> Caitlin Petre Nicole Weber Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11303 PLATFORM LOGIC AND THE INFRASTRUCTURAL POWER OF TECH GIANTS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11304 <p>While Alphabet, Facebook, and Microsoft are mostly associated with online services and mobile applications, they now constitute important actors of the global communication infrastructure, as witnessed by their important investments in data centers, subsea cables, telecommunication networks, and non-terrestrial connectivity (such as drones, balloons, or satellites). Beyond these spectacular (and sometimes hypothetical) projects, this paper details how these tech companies are already changing the ways communication networks are managed. It shows that they become a dominant force shaping global connectivity by leveraging the platform logic that granted them their initial success in the web economy, and adapting it to communication infrastructures. Based on interviews with industry experts and network engineers, document analysis, and site visits, this paper offers a model to analyse this platformization of communication infrastructures: it consists of disaggregating existing networks components, inserting a platform which acts as new integrator, and making networks modular and programmable. This model extends scholarship on the platformization of social and economic life and shows how the same platform logic is at the center of the infrastructural expansion of tech giants and at the source of the power they gain over global connectivity.</p> Jean-Christophe Plantin Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11304 THE TURN TO TRADE AGREEMENTS IN GLOBAL PLATFORM GOVERNANCE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11305 <p>In the past few years, a growing number of proposals have been developed to govern major platforms for user-generated content through formalized legislation as well as voluntary self-regulatory initiatives. This paper focusses on the increasingly significant use of trade agreements for the governance of these platforms. While trade agreements have been analysed by academics working on internet governance, copyright, and other issues, they still have underexplored implications for national governments that are trying to craft regulation designed to address a host of perceived democratic externalities posed by dominant technology firms and platform providers like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Presenting the first results of an interdisciplinary project bringing together digital communication scholars, internet governance researchers, and international relations academics to look at the nexus of digital governance and international trade, the paper seeks to understand how different political actors are using trade agreements to ‘lock in’ their preferences on platform governance topics like intermediary liability and competition policy. Building on the analysis of major bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, as well as leaked documents from ongoing negotiations, the paper provides a mapping of the issues related to platform governance included in these instruments. Using this dataset, it then analyses the respective positions of various countries on relevant issues in the negotiations, seeking to create a typology of key issues that will provide a starting point for a deeper analysis of key actor strategies.</p> Julia Pohle Robert Gorwa Hailey Miller Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11305 COMMUNICATING MARKETS: COMPETITION POLICY DISCOURSE AND DIGITAL PLATFORM POWER https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11306 <p>Digital platforms elude legal and regulatory frameworks traditionally used to address market power, speech, and disinformation issues. One of the dominant policy responses to addressing these issues involves reforming competition policy to better manage digital platform markets. This case study examines how stakeholders, including tech giants, their competitors, regulators, and advocacy groups deploy competition policy to address platform power in a series of 2019-2020 U.S. congressional hearings on the subject, with implications for the wider global debate. The article traces the politics underlying these debates, which manifests in variations in stakeholders’ definitions of platform power and their proposed solutions, reflecting tensions over the role of the state in managing markets and in addressing non-economic concerns associated with digital platforms. The article concludes with a consideration of what this politics implies for policy interventions aimed at addressing platform power.</p> Pawel Popiel Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11306 FROM DEVELOPMENT TO DEPLOYMENT: FOR A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO ETHICS OF AI AND LABOUR https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11307 <p>In recent years, government and policy organizations, private companies, and research agencies have been discussing the potential disruption caused by the deployment of AI systems in working environments. This paper traces contemporary discourse on the relationship between artificial intelligence and labour and discusses how these principles must be comprehensive in their approach to labour and AI. First, the paper asserts that ethical frameworks in AI alone are not enough to guarantee the rights of workers since they lack enforcement mechanisms and the participation of worker organizations. Secondly, it argues that current discussions on AI and labour focus on the deployment of these technologies in the workplace but ignore the essential role of human labour in their development, particularly in the different cases of outsourced labour around the world. Finally, the paper recommends the use of already existing human rights frameworks on working conditions – notably the International Labour Organization conventions on the right of collective bargaining, the abolition of discrimination at work, and the right to equal remuneration – as a basis for a more comprehensive ethical framework on AI labour. It concludes by arguing that the central question regarding the future of work will not be whether intelligent machines will replace humans, but who will own and have a say on the systems that will ultimately work alongside humans.</p> Julian Posada Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11307 STATE AS STARTUP: CONNECTING THE UNCONNECTED IN ANDHRA PRADESH https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11308 <p>This paper examines the Andhra Pradesh State Fiber Net Ltd (APSFL) or APFiber, a state corporation established to “connect the unconnected” in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. APSFL built a network of 24,000 kilometers of aerial fiber that delivered internet, cable and voice services to roughly 650,000 rural subscribers by early 2019. Through interviews with APSFL staff and the local cable operators that are the last-mile workers of the network, I examine the particularities of the connectivity on offer, one that pairs internet with cable TV and places the state government within citizens’ homes and on their TV screens. I unearth the rationales employed in support of this effort, that it would serve growth, glory and governance. Paying attention to the technical and social arrangements that comprised the service, I analyze how these goals translated into practice. I argue that the connectivity on offer serves capital and consolidates state power, where surveillance becomes both routine and revenue. In the name of the development imperative enabled by a tech subnationalism, APFiber furthers the penetration of both state and capital in the lives of those they deem unconnected. I see the founding of a regime of extraction and control. The state valorizes the culture of Silicon Valley, adopts its logics and practices, and comes to see itself as a startup.</p> Revati Prasad Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 'DATA, CAMERA, ACTION: HOW ALGORITHMS ARE SHAKING UP EUROPEAN SCREEN PRODUCTION' https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11311 <p>Films and television series you watch online are watching you back. Algorithms and data analytics are making deeper inroads into film and television production in Europe: Belgian company ScriptBook offers data-driven script analysis and automated story generation, which the company sees as co-authorship between humans and machines. At the same time, data-driven streamers like Netflix and Amazon are investing heavily in local-language content. This paper examines how these developments affect creative labour in the European screen industry. More specifically, it zooms in on the development stage and the experiences of screenwriters, directors, and producers. What do audience data and algorithmic tools add to the creative process? What are the possibilities and limitations? Questions like these call for a robust theoretical and methodological toolbox, which synthesises concepts and methods from media industry studies, critical algorithm studies, and critical data studies. This research project explores the influence of algorithms and data analytics on both a macro-level (changing industry structures) and micro-level (creative practices of screenwriters and producers). The analysis is based on data from three registers: semi-structured interviews with screen workers, ethnographic field observation, and industry trade publications. These empirical data have been gathered online and offline in several European countries. In sum, this paper presents some preliminary observations of European screen production in an algorithmic culture - and how it is perceived by the people who produce the stories that land on our screens.</p> Nina Vindum Rasmussen Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11311 DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGNS ON TWITTER DURING THE BRAZILIAN 2018 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11312 <p>This proposal focuses on discussing the results of two-year study about disinformation in political conversations on Twitter during the 2018 presidential campaign in Brazil. Based on a dataset of over 20 million tweets, we explore the research question: What are the key characteristics of the disinformation campaigns aimed to influence the Brazilian 2018 election through political conversations on Twitter? To discuss this question, we aligned our results with three key aspects of the disinformation campaigns: (a) content strategies; (b) legitimation strategies and (c) spread strategies.</p> Raquel Recuero Felipe Soares Otavio Vinhas Gabriela Zago Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11312 THE RELEVANCE PEOPLE ASSIGN TO ALGORITHMIC-SELECTION APPLICATIONS IN EVERYDAY LIFE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11313 <p>The fast-growing academic and public attention to algorithmic-selection applications such as search engines and social media is indicative of their alleged great social relevance and impact on daily life in digital societies. To substantiate these claims, this paper investigates the hitherto little explored subjective relevance that Internet users assign to algorithmic-selection applications in everyday life. A representative online survey of Internet users comparatively reveals the relevance that users ascribe to algorithmic-selection applications and to their online and offline alternatives in five selected life domains: political and social orientation, entertainment, commercial transactions, socializing and health. The results show that people assign a relatively low relevance to algorithmic-selection applications compared to offline alternatives across the five life domains. In particular social media are found to be of relatively low assigned relevance for all life domains investigated. The findings vary greatly by age and education. Altogether, such outcomes complement and qualify assessments of the social impact of algorithms that are primarily and often solely based on usage data and theoretical considerations.</p> Michael V. Reiss Noemi Festic Michael Latzer Tanja Rüedy Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11313 IT'S REWIND TIME, EVERYBODY: THE CONTESTATION OF PLATFORM CULTURE IN YOUTUBE'S YEARLY REVIEW https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11314 <p>YouTube Rewind, especially its controversial 2018 and 2019 offerings, surfaces contested and contradictory understandings of what YouTube culture is and who gets to speak for the platform. Adopting and morphing the idea of media events established by Dayan and Katz, I argue that Rewinds serve as $2 . Rewinds are moments of coming together around shared rituals, anthems, and cultural leaders. The violation of the formula for this ceremonial event in 2018 upset audiences and generated a mass, organized, and negative response. By tracing the flows of content creation, including the corporate-produced Rewind videos and critical response and reaction videos from YouTube creators, this project identifies competing visions and structuring tensions of platform culture. Focusing on the question of cultural development on YouTube via the social media event of Rewind videos forefronts the larger question of how researchers can talk about online culture on a globalized scale. From viewer-driven virality, to the establishment of microcelebrities, to the role of international cultural leaders on the platform, understandings of what it means to be a YouTuber emerge from more sectors than ever before. Is a singular Rewind possible for a platform that now encompasses over 100 countries and 80 languages? If corporate visions of what YouTube is and should be no longer generate popular excitement and backing, who then gets to speak for the platform? Focusing on YouTube’s premiere cultural event offers a starting point for understanding what YouTube $2 to those who structure their lives on and around the platform.</p> CJ Reynolds Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11314 MAPPING VALUE(S) IN AI: THE CASE OF YOUTUBE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11315 <p>This paper presents a multidisciplinary approach (media studies, computer science, and legal scholarship) for the analysis of systems that rely on AI components as central components of their design. Taking recommender systems more generally and the one built by YouTube more specifically, we develop a methodology for conceptualizing and studying the broad array of “ideas”, “norms”, or “values” such systems mobilize. Instead of limiting ourselves to a narrow understanding of these terms, we take into account, for example, translations from economic models, social theories, legal requirements, ethical principles, technical knowledge, experiential evaluations, or other constructs used to define and justify design goals and decisions that shape the production of technical objects and, consequently, the object themselves. In this paper we discuss three directions for analysis and present first results. Investigating technical knowledge includes the study of scholarly literature and experimentation with concrete objects such as LensKit for Python to understand the “ambient” knowledge and normativity engineers and designers draw on. Investigating local circumstances involves ethnographic analysis, but also the reconstruction of the business models and legal environment that weigh on YouTube’s design. Analyzing a system in use can draw on technical observation, via scraping or API data, of the actual dynamics of recommendation that emerge when users enter into the equation. Taken together, these three approaches can “encircle” the various moments where value(s) are shaped and put into work in the context of systems where direct access to specifications is improbable.</p> Bernhard Rieder Geoff Gordon Giovanni Sileno Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11315 REAL TIME TEMPORALITIES AND MORE-THAN-HUMAN ECOLOGIES OF DETROIT’S PROJECT GREEN LIGHT https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11316 <p>On January 1st 2016, 8 gas stations in the Detroit metro area began streaming from surveillance cameras to the Detroit Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center—the auspicious start of Detroit’s Project Green Light (PGL). Presently, cameras are located in over 680 sites around the city. The surveillance initiative’s rapid expansion has been met with significant pushback from the community regarding its quiet incorporation of automated face recognition technologies. As activists have argued, the use of a technology with a significantly higher error rate for people of color to surveil a population that is over 80% nonwhite risks reproducing and exacerbating existing racial biases within the criminal justice system (Detroit Community Technology Project, 2019). Many of the concerns that community members have raised, including the possibility of algorithmic misidentification and the influence of PGL cameras on residents’ use of public space, speak to the question of what human and nonhuman agencies and relationalities exist in PGL spaces and their impact on the residents and landscape of Detroit. In this paper, I focus on the discursive flexibility of the term real time in PGL to diagram the web of human and nonhuman relations within the space. I trace three narratives of real time mapping the human and nonhuman temporalities they reference. Informed by a theoretical framework of Digital Studies, Critical Race Studies, and Indigenous Studies, I explore the racial justice possibilities of theorizing resistance inclusive of more-than-human perspectives and ethics.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> Megan Rim Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11316 DELETION WILL BE MY EPITAPH: JOURANLISTS DELETION PRACTICES ON TWITTER https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11317 <p>This study seeks to understand the practice of the deletion of tweets by journalists while arguing that these uniquely reflect the contemporary fragility of archiving and journalism – two human enterprises central to societies’ ability to reflexively consider the past and present and democratically chart a future course. From the perspective of journalism as a profession, it argues that the study of tweet deletion is a means of examining the constraints under which journalists operate today including the occupational precarity and polarized public sphere with which they contend. From the web archival perspective, this study methodologically informs scholars who are relying on public tweets as a source for their research as well as other social actors – such as NGOs, activists, politicians, cultural producers – who rely on social media as a web archive in their public activities. It proposes to identify some of the voices that will be removed from this public square as it becomes a public archive and highlights the proactive ephemerality of journalistic social media content. Based on interviews conducted in the winter of 2019 with 17 journalists working in New York City, the study examines how journalists perceive the action of deleting their tweets and how they justify it.</p> Sharon Ringel Roei Davidson Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11317 FROM ONLINE ENGAGEMENT TO OFFLINE ACTIONS: UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACT OF CANCER (MIS)INFORMATION ENGAGEMENT AMONG LATINO FACEBOOK USERS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11318 <p>Latinos in the U.S. face a high burden of cancer, making it important to deliver evidence-based cancer prevention and screening information (CPSI) on social media to this group. However, there is a dearth in scholarship exploring how Latinos engage with and act upon cancer (mis)information encountered on social media. Cultural values may influence how Latinos engage with multi-lingual CPSI shared on Facebook. This study sought to understand how and why U.S. Latinos engage with and act upon CPSI on Facebook. During one-on-one, in-depth interviews, participants (n=20) logged onto their Facebook account alongside the researcher, typed “cancer” in the search bar, and discussed CPSI they engaged with during the past 12 months. Engagement prompted questions regarding the reasons for engagement and further action. Computer screen and audio were recorded. Interviews were analyzed thematically; CPSI was analyzed via content analysis. Participants mainly engaged with CPSI by viewing/reading content. Engagement was most common when individuals had personal relationships to the poster, when posts included videos/images, and when information promoted popular Latin American foods. Engagement often led to varying levels of action, both online and offline. Not all decisions were evidence-based, and some were potentially harmful (e.g. canceling mammogram after engaging with misinformation). Findings highlight the complex and interrelated ways in which cultural values, source factors and message factors contribute to engagement with health content on social media, which may lead individuals to bypass evidence-based procedures in favor of unproven approaches. Specific interdisciplinary recommendations to address these issues will be discussed.</p> Yonaira M Rivera Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11318 QUEERING THE MAP: PHYSICAL TRACES AND DIGITAL PLACES OF QUEER LIVES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11319 <p>QueeringTheMap.com, launched in late 2017 by designer Lucas LaRochelle, is a ‘community-generated mapping project that geo-locates queer moments, memories and histories in relation to physical space’. In a Google Maps-style interface, users can locate pins anchored to physical locations. Attached to each pin is a story. Collectively, there are tens of thousands of stories about being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming: coming out stories, stories of first kisses, sexual encounters, break-ups, pride marches, assaults, traumas, and realisations. These stories digitally layer physical spaces with anonymous individual and collective stories; they locate queer life and they queer the map. In this project we seek to document these experiences, improve understandings of community archiving and digital storytelling practices, and expose the potential for reconfiguring forms of resistance and solidarity through new platforms for collectivity and community-making. In this paper, we consider how these narratives may be understood at scale to provide insights into the digital architecture of queer lives. We focus our analysis on the 1,941 posts pinned to Australia, to consider how QTM reaffirms contemporary understandings of the physical-digital continuum and queers how we conceive of traces and places in this context.</p> Brady Robards Ashleigh Watson Emma Kirby Brendan Churchill Lucas LaRochelle Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11319 SELF-TRACKING ‘FEMTECH’: COMMODIFYING & DISCIPLINING THE FERTILE FEMALE BODY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11320 <p>This paper engages with feminist political economists to explore questions of affective labour and value-production in self-tracking technologies designed for the female body (‘femtech’). Self-tracking femtech is largely characterised by smartphone applications and smart devices that track user data relating to menstruation, fertility periods, sexual activity, ovulation, hormones, and health and wellbeing. This data can be collected through self-reporting or through automated transmission from sensory devices attached to the body. By reflecting on my own experiences with these technologies, this paper argues that users of self-tracking femtech perform the labour of reproducing our bodies and our affective relations in ways that are amenable to both capitalist and patriarchal structures of power. Situated within the broader shifts of care and social reproduction, self-tracking femtech can be understood as affective infrastructures that re-stabilise gender norms and continue to unevenly push the burden of reproduction onto a class of unpaid women. I explore the ways that affective experiences are shaped and modulated by self-trackers to (re)produce and discipline the fertile and sexual female body to be $2 a productive labouring body and heterosexually attractive feminine subjectivity. The labour of reproduction is further intertwined here with the labour of producing data for digital media industries that generates profit in the advertising marketplace. By examining co-constitutive and paradoxical forms of value at play, I dually situate self-tracking femtech within broader political struggles and locate the spaces of agency in our everyday entanglements with digital media technologies.</p> Sara Roetman Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11320 I AM THE VIRUS: DIGITAL STORYTELLING AND FICTIONAL TWITTER ACCOUNTS IN THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS IN SPAIN https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11321 <p>The purpose of this work is to understand the role of digital storytelling as a conversation asset regarding social and health emergencies, specifically fictional parody characters in social media, as chroniclers of ongoing crises. We will focus on a strikingly popular phenomenon: the Twitter account @coronavid19, where the virus, presented as a fictional character, offers a humorous chronicle in almost real time through social media, from the early breaking news related to the presence of the virus in the country to the unfolding of an unprecedented social and health crisis. The account got more than 450,000 followers in its first week of existence, coinciding with the first confirmed Covid19 cases in mainland Spain (February 2020) and was widely covered by mainstream media. It currently has more than 860.000 followers, which is way higher than official health and governmental Twitter accounts. This paradigmatic case study has been chosen considering its impact from the early stages of the pandemic, but also its peculiarities as a fictional character and a privileged chronicler in the first person. Our case analysis is aimed to understand how fictional parody characters are built in discursive and extra-discursive terms, how they interact with followers and how narrative and character traits evolve along the crisis. We also want to observe whether they add nuances to social discussion, reframe news content (emphasizing or downplaying events) and serve as a tool to cope with hard times, fostering collective empowerment, mutual empathy, while stressing official recommendations using irony and mocking irrational behaviour.</p> Antoni Roig Sandra Martorell Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11321 #BABIESOFINSTAGRAM: THE DIGITALLY MEDIATED LIVES OF ‘ASPIRING’ BABY MODELS AND BRAND REPS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11322 <p>This paper is part of an on-going study of baby accounts created by ordinary parents to reach audiences outside friends and families. More specifically, the aim is to provide insights on the growing phenomenon of commercial forms of sharenting where parents seek money–making opportunities through the lives and images of children. A qualitative exploratory approach is used to shed light on the practices used by parents to try to garner the attention of brands on Instagram. Content analysis is carried out of 308 posts and the baby accounts behind these posts. Findings reveal that accounts in our sample are predominantly used to seek financial opportunities in the fashion industry. This is observed in the post images where brands are tagged and children appear in carefully staged poses that emphasize the baby’s looks and the clothes worn. The choice of hashtags added to the posts suggest a willingness to participate in baby model contests and brand representation searches. The commercial motivations of these accounts is also evident in the profile description, where parents indicate that the child is ‘an aspiring baby model’ or that the account is open to brand collaborations. This investigation extends emerging research on the growing presence of children on digital spaces when profit is involved. We discuss privacy issues surrounding the intensely mediated lives of children who are commodified to obtain rewards such as brand partnerships and free or discounted products or services.</p> Alexandra Ruiz-Gomez Diana Gavilan Maria Avello Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11322 SUBVERSIVE IMAGINATION AND POSSIBILITIES OF CRITICAL AGENCY IN THE LANDSCAPES OF CODE? https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11323 <p>This paper reflects the intertwinements of ‘agency’, ‘infrastructuration’, and ‘imagination’ in our increasingly networked technological everyday life. The focus of the research, navigating at the interfaces of critical media studies, domestication theory, STS, and critical software studies, is on the ways in which imaginations on agency are constructed and stabilized. Likewise, attention is directed to how societal power structures are produced, reproduced, and possibly challenged in the processes of constructing imaginaries of agency. To study the above mentioned perspectives together, critical cultural studies scholar Stuart Hall’s famous encoding/decoding model is applied and updated in the contemporary media technological context (Hall, 1973; 1980). Hall’s concept of ‘maps of meaning’ is brought in dialogue with the concepts of ‘sociotechnical imaginaries’ by Sheila Jasanoff and ‘social imaginaries’ by Charles Taylor. The multidisciplinary, multimethod, and multidata approach of the research sheds light on the diversity and complexity of imaginaries of agency in our times. Based on the results, it is suggested that there prevails an almost resigned sense of agency that many people share in relation to the conditions of their technologically mediated everyday life. Despite sporadic negotiations and dissonances, it seems that people have become accustomed to the idea that they have very little, if any, chances to influence the structures of their networked daily environments. It is suggested that future research should concentrate on making visible alternatives to modes of technology-related action as well as develop ways to challenge people to creatively (re)imagine the kind of technology they want to live with.</p> Minna Saariketo Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11323 WHAT DOES #FREEDOM LOOK LIKE? INSTAGRAM AND THE VISUAL IMAGINATION OF VALUES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11325 <p>Instagram is the place for the visualization of everything, from travel and food to abstract concepts such as compassion or freedom. While visualizing the abstract is not new, the platform has introduced a bottom-up process where users co-produce image repertoires that shape the boundaries of the imaginable. In this paper, we address an unexplored question about this process: which visual repertoires are associated with value-related terms on Instagram? We studied twenty widely used value hashtags, sampling the top 100 posts for each of them (N=2000). A combined qualitative-quantitative content analysis revealed that 19 of the 20 hashtags possessed a distinct visual footprint. These watermarks shared an orientation towards the self and an emphasis on consumption. We conclude by discussing three implications of our findings: the power of images to narrow the imagination of values, the distinction between “internalized” and “externalized” value depictions, and the meta-value of “aestheticized consumption” on Instagram.</p> Rebecca Scharlach Tommaso Trillo Saki Mizoroki Bumsoo Kim Blake Hallinan Paul Frosh Limor Shifman Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11325 "TASTE THIS VIDEO!": FACEBOOK VIDEOS AS EMBODIED EXPERIENCES. https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11326 <p>Videos are among the most widely used media formats on Facebook. Yet little research has been done on their aesthetic and formal attributes, and especially on how they operate within the frameworks of attention, interruption and embodied interaction specific to social media interfaces. This paper examines recipe videos published on Tasty, one of the most popular Facebook pages in the world. We analyze these videos through a novel three-dimensional model that integrates their semiotic characteristics (visual, auditory and textual), their interactive and haptic qualities, and their invitation to perceptual engagement and sensorimotor response. We conclude that Facebook recipe videos are exemplary of a broader category of social media videos which we call $2 : these create heightened multisensory experiences that take precedent over informational use or narrative involvement, revealing the deeply physical character of our connections to social media and a yearning for embodied presence in what we might call our online-life.</p> Hadas Schlussel Paul Frosh Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11326 FEMME LIFE ON THE SCREEN: ONLINE METHODS FOR SUBCULTURAL RESEARCH AND SURVIVAL https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11328 <p>In this presentation, I will share key findings from my dissertation research on femme internet culture. Following the conference theme, this presentation will focus on the use of online methods for documenting subcultural life, and online subculture’s ability to make life more liveable for marginalized subjects. In this project, I define “femme” as a queer identity that is marked by a critical and political engagement with femininity that manifests through one’s style and values. I used Ulrika Dahl’s (2011) femme-inist ethnography methodology to conceptualize a study of “one’s own community.” In this presentation, I will focus on key findings about femme memes and online femme networks. My research demonstrates that through a study of a subculture’s memes, we can come to learn much about the group’s values, norms, and boundaries. Memes allow individuals to see one’s self, identity, or experiences reflected, or be “in on the joke.” Femmes recognize the experiences specific to femme subjectivity (ie. femme invisibility) communicated through memes and feel a sense of connection with one another. In addition, my research offers further evidence of the value of online communities for marginalized subjects. The femmes in my study used online connections to combat geographical isolation, create intergenerational bonds, and even find a reason to stay alive. My research shows that the technological affordances of Instagram continue to make online communities valuable. In addition, online methods are valuable tools to develop deeper insight into existing subcultures, especially those that are marginalized in more mainstream and/or public arenas.</p> Andi Schwartz Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11328 “YOU EITHER LOVE IT IMMEDIATELY, OR YOU HATE IT” REFLECTIONS AND EXPERIENCES OF ESTONIAN EMPLOYEES WITH MICROCHIP IMPLANTS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11329 <p>Although employers around the world (e.g. USA, Mexico, Sweden, Belgium, Estonia) have started to implant employees with microchips (Esfola, 2018; Petersen 2019), there is still not enough empirical insights about the opportunities and risks microchipped employees associate with the technology. Semi-structured individual interviews with microchipped employees (n=14) from six different organizations in Estonia were carried out in autumn 2019 so as to contribute new knowledge in this realm and to explore the reasoning of employees with implantables for accepting microchip implants from their employers and the potential benefits and problems they associate with the technology. Relying on the diffusion of innovations theory (DOI) by Everett Rogers (1962 [2003]) the current presentation aims to trace the five steps of the innovation-decision process our interviewed employees underwent when adopting to microchip implants. Preliminary findings indicate that micro-chipped employees are technology enthusiasts who are eager to embrace various technological affordances and have a lot of faith and trust both in the organization they work for. In fact, they were totally unconcerned about the potential problems microchips could pose and wholeheartedly believed in the value of trade-off between convenience and privacy.</p> Andra Siibak Marleen Otsus Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11329 FROM USER GENERATED CONTENT TO A USER GENERATED AESTHETIC: INSTAGRAM, BRANDS AND THE APPROPRIATION OF DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11330 <p>Recent research has emphasized the increasing professionalization of ‘user-generated content’ for digital networks and social media. This paper highlights a contrary but parallel process: the aesthetic ‘vernacularization’ of brand images on social media and the adoption of recognizably ‘amateur’ styles by corporate brands. Analyzing the official Instagram accounts of 24 leading fashion brands between 2014-18, our research project identified eight distinctive patterns in the corporate adoption of vernacular photographic styles. In this paper we discuss the three most common patterns: (1) $2 : sharing and crediting users’ photographs on the brands’ official feed ;(2) $2 : posting the ‘amateur-looking’ photographs of a celebrity or model associated with the brand; (3) $2 : selfie-style images created by brands themselves where the brand appears to be the ‘self’ that performs its own representation. Following this analysis, we argue that user-generated content has become detached from its primary authorial configuration (being generated by non-professional users) and has solidified into a recognizable style, a ‘user-generated aesthetic’, available for brand appropriation. This detachment constitutes a form of ‘context collapse’ that is characteristic of social media in other respects, but here appears in visual form: as the collapse of contextual distinctions that enable viewers to infer authorial status, milieu and purposes from visual indicators. It further conforms to the expansion of branding practices beyond the purview of marketing, advertising and celebrity into all aspects of social life, and in particular to Instagram as a social media platform that enacts marketplace logics.</p> Liron Simatzkin-Ohana Paul Frosh Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11330 ‘LURKER’ LITERACIES: LIVING IN/THROUGH NEIGHBORHOOD FACEBOOK GROUPS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11331 <p>Although mythologized as a fringe or deviant behavior, ‘lurking,’ or passive participation in an online group, has become a regular part of the way we lead our lives online. My IRB approved dissertation research, which will be completed by AoIR 2020, will examine ‘lurking’ in neighborhood Facebook groups. Through community mapping and interviews of Facebook users enrolled in the same neighborhood Facebook group, this study seeks to describe both the ‘lurker’ literacy practices of Facebook group users and to understand if and how the features of the Facebook social media platform encourage these literacy practices. Given that neighborhood groups are intended for people who live in the same geographic area, there is a likelihood that many members of the group may know one another offline and in real life. Since ‘lurkers’ are groups that are typically not included in academic studies, this research will have broad appeal to scholars across the social sciences. When scholars only examine the role of active contributors and ignore the literacy practices of the silent majority of ‘lurkers’, their findings present an incomplete portrait of the way people engage in participatory culture and how these online experiences influence our offline lives.</p> Gina Marie Sipley Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11331 MONETIZING RELATIONSHIPS: STREAMING ALONE WITH ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11332 <p>This paper is derived from a larger project that examines the experiences of women who live-stream video games on the Twitch.tv platform. To date, much of the research that has been done in the area of streaming is concerned with streamers who have a large following and/or derive their main source of income from streaming. Rather than directing more attention to those streamers who have attained ‘success’ as Twitch would frame it, this study is centered around a group of streamers unique from those who are typically the focus. First, I discuss the ways monetization influences community building. Second, I discuss some of the implications of paying for attention. Third, I discuss the pressure streamers feel to perform a particular kind of authenticity around monetization. Finally, I will discuss how monetization creates friction and competition between streamers. This work contributes the perspectives of 5 women whose experiences have been largely overlooked by existing research about streaming, as well as the analysis of another 50 Twitch channels run by women from diverse backgrounds and streaming interests. These findings demonstrate that the monetization features available to streamers and the everyday practices that have emerged through Twitch centered around monetization have a lot of influence over how people relate to each other, even for those streamers who are not trying to monetize their channels.</p> Karen Skardzius Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11332 "THANKS AMAZON FOR SCARRING ME FOR LIFE": WORKER BREAKDOWN AND THE DISRUPTION OF CARE AT AMAZON https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11333 <p>Infamous for their highly exploitative, algorithmically-managed labour regimes, Amazon fulfillment centers are sites of continual breakdown and disrepair for the bodies and minds of its workers. From a methodological approach via workers’ inquiry and content analysis, this paper aims to theoretically frame the effects (and affects) resulting from Amazon’s strategy of augmented despotism, which engenders new forms of domination mediated and augmented by digital tools. Through a content analysis of online video confessionals detailing the physical and mental experiences of worker burnout and breakdown, this paper aims to bring the voices of (ex)-workers at Amazon to the forefront of understanding Amazon’s integrated architectures of labour management, surveillance, and control. The focus of this content analysis will be on the experiences of “broken” Amazon workers interacting with Amazon’s technological media apparatus of augmented despotism, with a special focus on the company's virtual health clinic: Amazon Care. As worker confessionals on YouTube attest, Amazon Care is as much an architecture of managerial surveillance, control, and discipline as it is of “care.” While other wearable and trackable technologies haunt the Amazon worker during their shift, Amazon Care extends the company’s technological power beyond the confines of the fulfillment center. Drawing from political and technological theories of labour and care, this paper will look into how Amazon workers navigate (and often escape) the affective and embodied confines of Amazon's augmented despotism.</p> Brendan Smith Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11333 "MAY THE SHAME BE WITH YOU. ALWAYS." MITIGATING YOUNG PEOPLE'S INTIMATE EXCHANGES ONLINE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11334 <p>Cultural anxiety about the impact of young people's intimate exchanges online has increased over the past 15 years. Sexual media and 'digital intimacies' are routinely understood to be a source of harm and adverse outcomes. This paper engages with Finland's National Bureau of Investigation's&nbsp; $2 &nbsp;video campaign, the Police of Finland's public announcements on 'teen sexting' between 2017–2019 and young Finns responses to such educational efforts by using data from&nbsp; $2 &nbsp;study that is a part of a more significant research project on intimacy in data-driven culture in Finland. My research interest lies with some of the disconnections between current educational and policy discourses addressing young people's participation in digital cultures, and the lived experiences of young Finns. By asking from a focus-group of young Finns aged 15–19-years-old how they and their peers experience digital intimacy and their perceptions of the benefits, possible risks and harms, mitigations and solutions, I can draw a more ethical yet a complex picture of young people's engagement with digital intimacies. I call for a focus on the political, ethical and material implications of such educational efforts and policy responses that premises on digital abstinence to critically reflect on the question of young people's (sexual) rights in digital environments. The University of Turku ethics board has approved the research design and the uses of all the research datasets.</p> Sanna Spišák Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11334 UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYE: USERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF ONLINE PRIVACY AND SURVEILLANCE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11335 <p>This project seeks to contribute to the question, “How do internet users navigate data privacy in a digitally surveilled online world?” I augment this ongoing discussion by examining the perceptions and practices concerning privacy and self-representation in digital spaces among young adults, 18-22. This qualitative work utilizes in-depth interviews of college students in the United States to collect both behavioral and attitudinal patterns. Specifically, I consider the impact of the strategic interventions of corporate and governmental platforms to collect, distribute, and utilize individual level data on research participants’ information consumption, individual identity representation, and group affiliation. A preliminary analysis of the data finds participants engage in narrative rationalizations to help them navigate the cultural expectations of online engagement within a surveilled environment. Patterns of strategic self-representation are shaped by such rationalizations and justifications, including a fundamental shift in what the concept "privacy" means in an online world.</p> Alecea Irene Standlee Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11335 AUTOMOBILE PLATFORM CAPITALISM: A VEHICULAR HISTORY OF THE DIGITAL ECONOMY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11337 <p>This presentation traces the relationship between Internet-based platform capitalism and Toyotist automobile manufacture. It argues that the auto industry and its managerial analysts play crucial roles in the development of platform theory and platform capitalism. While analyses of platform capitalism have tended to focus on the digital economy, this paper article highlights the continuities between digital platform capitalism and the manufacturing paradigms of the automobile industry, and the Toyota Production System as it developed in the 1960s in particular. This includes attention to the Japanese and American managerial theorizations of automobile manufacture that are the heartlands of platform capitalism. This genealogy impacts how we periodize the platform capitalism, and where we locate the emergence of platform theory. Ultimately it makes a case for thinking through the continuities of today’s digital platform capitalism and the commercial internet with what this talk will term automobile platform capitalism.</p> Marc Steinberg Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11337 SEARCHING FOR TASKS: TASK-ORIENTATION AND THE PROCESSUALITY OF DIGITAL SKILLS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11338 <p>Skills are not “out there” to be learned but develop through their enactment in situ. Rather than defining skills using a tool- or media-driven approach, we understand skills as situated, embodied processes known as ‘task-orientation’. Coined by Tim Ingold (2011, p. 195) this term refers to “any practical operation, carried out by a skilled agent in an environment as part of his or her normal business of life”. Part of this approach entails taking a holistic, narrative approach to investigating everyday life (Ingold, 2000; 2006; 2011) which some scholars have applied to digital media use (Moores 2017; Sumartojo et al. 2016; Pink 2016, 2015; Pink &amp; Leder Mackley 2013; Pink 2011). We believe task-orientation offers a flexible way to define tasks performed online and offline encompassing three interrelated themes: 1) the processional quality of tool use; 2) the synergy of practitioner, tool, and material; and, 3) the coupling of perception and action. Our focus for this project is an investigation into how people perform unfamiliar tasks with digital media using the four processional phases. Unfamiliar tasks are an inherent part of our digitally-mediated everyday life to the extent that we have learned to ‘cope’ (see Sigaut 1994; see Ingold, 2000, p. 332; see also Nicolosi &amp; Falsaperna, 2015, p. 71) with them — making them, in turn, one of our most ubiquitous and essential digital skills.</p> Nicole Stewart Frederik Lesage Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11338 CHALLENGING SPATIAL MARGINALIZATION THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNICATION? A CASE STUDY OF THE TWITTER DISCOURSE ON HOUSING IN BERLIN https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11339 <p>Urban public life has historically and famously been structured by social stratification and a segregation of social milieus. Such spatialized social inequality along the lines of, most importantly, class, age, and ethnicity engenders unequal access to civic participation and supportive social networks. Meanwhile, the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies in particular have often been hailed for their potential of bringing underrepresented voices into the public discourse and even creating so-called “networked counterpublics”, challenging social power structures. This contribution seeks to address the question of whether social media communication about urban issues challenges or reproduces patterns of spatial inequality in its attention distribution. Empirically, it investigates the distribution of place-naming within the Berlin-based Twitter discourse on housing. It finds that - while issue attention in the urban Twitter discourse is clearly spatially unequal, with a striking imbalance between center and periphery - neither sociodemographic composition nor issue characteristics perform well in explaining these patterns. Instead it proposes focusing more on local civic and activist infrastructure in future research.</p> Daniela Stoltenberg Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11339 DOES ANYONE TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES ANYMORE? THE 2016 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES' MESSAGING ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11340 <p>As campaigns use social media to communicate with the public, this study investigates the dynamics of issue and image construction by the U.S. presidential candidates during the primary stage of the 2016 presidential campaign. Using computational techniques to classify candidate posts by message type and topic, we study all posts by the 17 Republican and 5 Democratic candidates from Sept. 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016. We ask whether candidates post more about their image--their character and personality--or on issues, and when they post on issues, does each candidate own specific policy issues. We also investigate which topics the public tends to engage with more. We also ask if there are differences in how the candidates use social media. Our results suggest that candidates post substantially less on the issues as compared with other types of messages. When they do post about policy topics, the candidates are associated with distinct policy positions, suggesting issue ownership as a strategic differentiator. Results also suggest campaigns use Facebook in ways different from Twitter, further reinforcing prior scholarship suggesting that campaigns use their social media for different purposes given different audiences on the platforms. Our findings indicate that campaigns overall are not discussing policy matters, thereby depriving the public the opportunity to engage in discussion of vital issues and what they would do to solve them; instead, the cult of personality seems to be further exacerbated by social media.</p> Jennifer Stromer-Galley Jeff Hemsley Patricia Rossini Alexander Smith Sarah Bolden Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11340 GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES OF WORK-RELATED IMPACTS TO DIGITAL WELL-BEING BY SOCIAL MEDIA PROFESSIONALS - A PILOT STUDY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11341 <p>The pervasiveness of social media has resulted in the establishment of a new career sector to manage the digital marketing, communications, public relations and advertising activities for businesses, nonprofits and high-profile individuals (McCosker, 2017). Consequently, the lines between work and personal lives have blurred, when constant connection and working across time-zones can be job requirements for workers providing social media support. Studies investigating digital labour, boundary management and Post-Fordism have explored technology’s impact on working conditions, but few have specifically examined the perspectives of social media professionals within the context of 'digital well-being', defined as "...the ability to look after personal health, safety, relationships and work-life balance in digital settings". This pilot study provides an insight into the perceptions of 15 social media professionals from six continents, to examine if current working conditions have impacted their health and well-being. Results indicated that most participants perceived the responsibility for digital well-being to be equally shared between employer and employee. However, the majority of the sample reported experiencing the inability to disconnect from work during their personal time, feelings of stress when managing live events/campaigns, including live-streaming, and being exposed to negative comments and messages when managing online communities. Only three out of the 15 social media professionals interviewed identified measures implemented at their workplaces to promote digital well-being, suggesting employers may perceive their duty-of-care ends when social media professionals leave work for the day even though their responsibilities can follow them home.</p> Karen Elizabeth Sutherland Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11341 TACTICS OF ALGORITHMIC LITERACY: HOW YOUNG PEOPLE UNDERSTAND AND NEGOTIATE ALGORITHMIC NEWS SELECTION https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11342 <p>With the growing centrality of the smartphone in everyday life, the news and public information that young people consume is increasingly subject to algorithmic curation. From the apps and websites of legacy news media to news aggregators and social media, more and more spaces through which young people access news are personalized. Yet, while numerous studies explore algorithms’ influence on citizens’ everyday life, few of these have considered how users themselves perceive and deal with news personalization. This paper considers how young news users experience the algorithmic selection of the news they receive via their smartphones, and how and under what circumstances they aim to negotiate these decisions. Combining walk-through methods with in-depth interviews, it explores young people’s perceptions of algorithms affect their practices on personalized news media and how they aim to intervene in news personalization. The paper finds a variety of tactics through which audiences intervene in algorithmic news selection, arguing that these can be seen as expressions of algorithmic literacy. These practices, however, are far from self-evident: overall, even amongst frequent users of personalized media, algorithmic awareness and knowledge are low. Moreover, such literacy varies considerably between platform contexts. This is problematic, as these deficiencies prevent young people from assessing the completeness, accuracy and balance of the news they are exposed to. Thus, the study stresses a need for media educators to pay more attention to how algorithmic curation shapes the news that users encounter, to further empower young people to navigate an increasingly personalized media landscape.</p> Joelle Swart Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11342 DIGITAL GENDER DISIDENTIFICATIONS: QUEER MIGRANTS AND TRANSNATIONAL CULTURES OF GENDER DIVERSITY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11343 <p>The twenty-first century has observed the emergence of new practices of gender diversity, which eschew rigid gender binary and proliferate new gender labels, including “nonbinary,” “genderfluid,” and “agender.” Digital media have played a crucial role in this process as the new labels often originate in online social networks. Academic discussions on digital gender diversity suggest that the new labels either resist or reproduce the dominant gender ideology. I contribute to these discussions by challenging the dichotomy of subversion versus hegemony and demonstrating a wide spectrum of digital practices of gender diversity. Drawing on six interviews with gender-diverse migrants and building on the concept of disidentification, I update the concept to the increasingly digital societies and emerging gender diversity, challenge the dichotomous thinking about digital gender diversity, and stress the importance of mediated and cultural contexts for understanding how new gender labels are being enacted in everyday life.</p> Lukasz Szulc Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11343 PERCEPTIONS OF ALGORITHMIC PROFILING ON FACEBOOK AND THEIR SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11344 <p>With every digital interaction, individuals are increasingly subject to algorithmic profiling, understood as the systematic and purposeful recording and classification of data related to individuals. Large Internet firms, such as Facebook and Google/Alphabet, as well as third-party data brokers collect and combine detailed personal data to create sophisticated profiles for predictive purposes. Research has started to look into people’s perception and engagement of algorithms, showing that many users are unaware of the existence of algorithms, for example those which curate news feeds, and that a majority feels uncomfortable with algorithmic profiling on Facebook. In our research, we investigate perceptions of algorithmic profiling on Facebook by addressing the following questions: What user narratives of profiling on Facebook exist? What reactions do users have when confronted with Facebook’s inferred profiles? What are the social implications of user perceptions of profiling? Drawing on rich and recent survey data from 292 US-based Facebook users, we identified four overarching themes relating to Facebook's profiling activities: uncertainty, naiveté, realism, and fatalism. While the third theme is the most prevalent, Facebook is perceived as very powerful when it comes to algorithmic profiling. However, when confronted with their own profiles through the "My interests" and "My categories" sections in the Facebook Ad preferences menu, many users indicated surprise at how imprecise or even wrong some of the inferred interests and categories were. We discuss the social implications of our findings with regards social exclusion and social justice.</p> Aurelia Tamò Larrieux Eduard Fosch Villaronga Shruthi Velidi Salome Viljoen Christoph Lutz Moritz Büchi Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11344 WHAT DO YOU WEIGH? POPULAR FEMINISM AND BODY POSITIVITY AS MEDIATED DISEMBODIMENT https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11345 <p>This study analyzes the Instagram page, @i_weigh, and its relation to body positivity discourses. Drawing on a visual discourse analysis of 300 Instagram posts from the @i_weigh account, this study suggests that body positivity movements may be increasingly disembodied in a self-representational era hallmarked by popular feminism. On 16 March 2018, actress and activist Jameela Jamil posted a photo to Instagram, obscuring her body with textual identifiers like “great friends” and “I laugh every day.” This post marked the launch of the Instagram account @i_weigh. This page, founded and maintained by Jamil, posts submissions from Instagram users answering the call to “weigh” themselves beyond the corporeal. This movement, now millions in reach, signals a departure from the conventions of body positivity. Rather than discovering empowerment through the body, @i_weigh encourages its participants to publicly privilege external relationships, social identities, and economic opportunities in an effort to look past the body. @i_weigh discursively constructs a mediated disembodiment, characterized by its liminal visual representation and categorization of the self through narratives of resilience and strength, claiming marginalized identities, and extra-self connection. The interaction of liminality and mediated disembodiment is reflective of self-representation in an age of popular feminism, placing the responsibility back on women for their own empowerment and production of selfhood while ignoring the socio-cultural frameworks that create a need for empowerment in the first place.</p> Hannah Taylor Colten Meisner Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11345 THE STEAM PLATFORM ECONOMY: CAPITALISING FROM PLAYER-DRIVEN ECONOMIES ON THE INTERNET. https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11346 <p>With this paper I aim to analyse and discuss the Steam game platform in a platform economic perspective. I will argue that Steam represents a special type of platform economy due to its roots in gaming economies: Steam’s platform economy can be seen as a specific way of capitalising on the player-driven economies that arise within and beyond key game titles offered on the platform. The API offered to third party developers on Steams websites can be described as a ‘palette of monetization strategies’ that run from simple retail models in the game store, over various ways of integrating user generated content in the Steam Workshop to the prospects of harnessing and capitalising from players’ economic action in the Community market. A look some of the most-played games titles shows that this gives rise to a variety of diverse monetization strategies. Many of those monetization strategies move beyond advertising and the attention economy, making players trades another potential source of income. In all cases, of course, Steam gets its share.</p> Anne Mette Thorhauge Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11346 PLATFORM COUNTERPUBLICS: GOSSIP & CONTESTED KNOWLEDGE ABOUT ONLINE LABOR PLATFORMS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11347 <p>As commercial platforms mediate large swaths of online markets for information and services, scholars have shown how users resist, or work around these opaque digital environments. From content producers to Uber drivers, digital laborers are particularly adept at appropriating and gaming platforms like YouTube, and Uber (Chen 2017; Duffy 2017; Rosenblat 2018). Often described as “multi-sided markets,” platforms bring together many different kinds of stakeholders, including consumers, workers, advertisers, and regulators (Gillespie 2010; Lingel 2020). However, investigations of working alongside algorithms have so far focused on workers’ relationship to algorithms, and neglected other stakeholders. Extending counterpublics theories (Warner 2002; Fraser 1990), we examine over 3,000 online reviews of a labor platform, Care.com, finding that both workers and clients use gossip to create a $2 that constructs a counternarrative about platform business practices. While previous studies suggest that different platform stakeholders have conflicting interests, we find that platform counterpublics draw both workers and clients together to draw boundaries demarcating acceptable platform business practices. Second, we point to the implications of platform counterpublics for the investigation of platform labor and algorithms. Consumer reviews of platforms are absent from critical literature on labor platforms. By bringing together scholarship on counterpublics with critical literature on labor platforms, this paper offers a relational approach to platforms.</p> Julia Ticona Ryan Tsapatsaris Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11347 WHAT'S AT STAKE WHEN SEX IS DEPLATFORMED? https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11348 <p>Although sex an essential part of the human experience, there are increasing attempts to remove it from social media. This paper brings together two researchers’ extensive research (~ 50 total interviews between 2011 and 2020, an extended 2011 to 2018 ethnography with a community of NSFW bloggers on Tumblr, and a year-long observation of multiple sex related Reddit communities) with people who have incorporated various social media platforms and apps into their sex lives. Out of the analysis of this material, we argue that analyses relying on people’s lived experiences mandate a sex-positive but platform-critical approach to sex on social media, where sex deserves to be part of social media for consenting adults.</p> Katrin Tiidenberg Emily van der Nagel Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11348 WEAPONIZATION OF LIVENESS: STREAMING DEATH AS A HYBRID MEDIA EVENT OF TERRORIST VIOLENCE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11349 <p>This paper offers a critical exploration of the notion of liveness and, in particular, the production of liveness in the context of hybrid media event of terrorist violence. With Christchurch mosque attacks of March, 2019, as the empirical context of study, the paper demonstrates i) how the perpetrator produced liveness through the live streaming of the massacre in digital media; ii) how this material circulated in diverse digital platforms; and iii) what kind of struggles emerged around visibility and erasure by way of removal as carried out by different platforms (e.g. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter). The empirical data collection and analysis is based on a method of digital media ethnography. We posit that live streaming of the Christchurch mosque attacks resulted in the weaponization of liveness (Callahan 2017), accelerating the experience of ‘real time’ witnessing of death on multiple levels. While a relatively small number of people watched the massacre take place in ‘real time’ (en direct), a much larger audience captured the ‘re-enactment’ of liveness through the active circulation and sharing of the video on different platforms. This, the paper argues, shapes the hybrid media events of terrorist violence of today not only as a phenomenon of intensified and accelerated death experienced online, but also as a phenomenon that amplifies the process of disgracing and dishonoring the dignity of human life as unique.</p> Minttu Tuulia Tikka Johanna Sumiala Anu Harju Katja Valaskivi Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11349 SOWING SEEDS OF DISTRUST: VIDEO GAME PLAYER PERCEPTIONS OF COMPANIES IN ONLINE FORUMS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11350 <p>Video games have become a major source of entertainment across the globe. Along with this growth as a form of leisure, video game companies have recognized the importance of the communities and cultures that consumers build around their products. Fans establish identities linked to their gaming habits, whether they are playing games themselves or viewing games played by professionals. Fans also participate in communities, often facilitated through online forums. As part of this, fans discuss, express, and assess their relationship with the companies in charge of their hobbies. How do fans establish and negotiate trust with these companies and why might consumer trust to lapse? This project analyzes approximately 2,500 online forum posts from video game players and esports viewers to understand their perspectives on the companies involved in these spaces. Ultimately, the landscape appears to be developing increasing negativity where fans feel exploited and progressively concerned about company decisions. Fans have called into question the quality of video games and esports streams, motivations for specific decisions behind the scenes, and whether or not their actions as fans reward companies who are using them to meet a specific financial goal. A sense of common knowledge is developed that certain companies will make decisions at the perceived expense of the audience to increase profit. Although these sentiments are not present for all forum users, these discussions reveal increasing negative associations toward specific companies, games, and franchises.</p> Christine Tomlinson Maria J. Anderson-Coto Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11350 MEMETIC COMMEMORATIONS: REMIXING FAR-RIGHT VALUES IN DIGITAL SPHERES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11351 <p>Memes are efficient tools for far-right activism. They also offer a window into the reactionary values expressed by far-right constituents in digital spheres. In this paper, we conceptualize memes as a meeting place between the values of the far-right and the values characterizing memetic communication on social media. We examined this process through the lens of Schwartz’s theory of basic human values and a case study from Italy. Specifically, we focus on a photo-based meme genre that we named “alternative calendar commemorations.” These memes memorialize events or figures that are key to the imaginary of the far-right. As expected, we found strong appeals to collectivistic values such as patriotism and tradition. However, we also found a partial re-negotiation of the collectivistic values of the far-right through some of the individualistic values intrinsic to memes. In conclusion, we discuss the implications of this new amalgamation between context-specific far-right values and those embedded in the globalizing format of digital memes.</p> Tommaso Trillò Limor Shifman Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11351 TUNING OUT HATE SPEECH ON REDDIT: AUTOMATING MODERATION AND DETECTING TOXICITY IN THE MANOSPHERE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11352 <p>Over the past two years social media platforms have been struggling to moderate at scale. At the same time, they have come under fire for failing to mitigate the risks of perceived ‘toxic’ content or behaviour on their platforms. In effort to better cope with content moderation, to combat hate speech, ‘dangerous organisations’ and other bad actors present on platforms, discussion has turned to the role that automated machine-learning (ML) tools might play. This paper contributes to thinking about the role and suitability of ML for content moderation on community platforms such as Reddit and Facebook. In particular, it looks at how ML tools operate (or fail to operate) effectively at the intersection between online sentiment within communities and social and platform expectations of acceptable discourse. Through an examination of the r/MGTOW subreddit we problematise current understandings of the notion of ‘tox¬icity’ as applied to cultural or social sub-communities online and explain how this interacts with Google’s Perspective tool.</p> Verity Trott Jennifer Beckett Venessa Paech Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11352 FNCKING WITH WHITE FRAMES: TEEJAYX6 SCAM RAPS THE DIGITAL https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11353 <p>Teejayx6 is a scam rapper from Detroit who puts to shame the notion that the internet is a cyberspace frontier where you can be all you wanna be. Instead, he presents it as a rich field to be harvested, and through his music provides insights about race and the internet. Ever since Kolko et al. (2000) published $2 , internet studies has tried to tease out how race plays out on the internet. But, as scholar Jessie Daniels (2012) shows, the field has come up way short. Maybe that’s because academics are too focused on what’s going on “in there” with race. There’s too much of a focus on the traditional analyses of representations of blackness, or of browness, or of yellowness. Instead, in line with Daniels (2012) urgings, we should be figuring out how whiteness is embedded, so deeply, in the internet. And so, we ask: What does Teejayx6’s scam rap, and the the scam rap of his predecessors, tell us about whiteness and the internet? Teejayx6 lyrics and online interviews help expose whiteness mythologies entrenched in internet discourse. We see how the open frontier of cyberspace masks territorialization; how identity fluidity is more of an elite fantasy than a pluralistic fact; and, how the promise of leisure and prosperity is false consciousness at best.</p> Robert Tynes Alex Pearl Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11353 YOU MADE THIS? I MADE THIS: CULTURES OF AUTOMATIC (MIS)ATTRIBUTION ON TIKTOK https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11354 <p>In 2019, TikTok captivated international attention as a breakout short-video platform. A key affordance for user-generated content creators on TikTok is how easy the platform makes reproducing popular videos. The video creation interface allows users to make new videos based on the one they were just watching with just one tap. While these features make it fun and easy for users to replicate popular videos, it can also obscure the identity of the creators who created the ‘original’ content being reused. In this way, TikTok engenders a culture of misattribution. Users can freely reuse popular formats, audio clips, or even licensed music without any connection to the original source with impunity. Using a combination of an app walkthrough, a bespoke data scraping tool, content analysis, and a series of qualitative case studies, this study explores the contradictory logic of authorship and how (mis)attribution is shaping cultural production and platform practices on TikTok.</p> David Bondy Valdovinos Kaye Aleesha Rodriguez Patrik Wikstrom Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11354 DISSOLVED CLOUDS: ERICSSON'S VAUDREUIL DATA CENTRE AND INFRASTRUCTURAL ABANDONMENT https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11355 <p>The past decade has seen the accelerated growth and expansion of large-scale data centre operations across the world to support emerging consumer and business data and computation needs. These buildings, as infrastructures responsive to changing global economic and technological terrain, are increasingly modular, and must be built out rapidly. However, these conditions also mean that their paths to obsolescence are shortened, their lifespans dependent on shifting corporate strategies and advances in consumer technology. This paper theorises and empirically explores material, infrastructural abandonment that emerges in this process of data centre construction across different geographical contexts. To do so, we analyse the socio-material construction of an international network of large-scale data centres by global telecom giant Ericsson, and the abrupt abandonment and suspension of one of its nodes in Vaudreuil, Québec in 2017 after only nine months of operation. Employing autoethnography, site visits, and qualitative interviews with data centre architects and staff in Sweden and Canada, we argue that the ruins of abandoned 'cloud' infrastructure represent the disjunction between the 'promise' of digital infrastructure for local communities and the market interests of digital companies. With its focus, the paper takes ruination and discard as perspectives through which to understand the complexity of emergent datafied futures and the socio-technical reshaping of internet infrastructures.</p> Julia Velkova Patrick Brodie Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11355 PATCHWORKED MEDIA: MOBILE DEVICES AND CREATIVE PRACTICE IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11356 <p>There has been a recurring narrative in research that revolves around mobile technologies and society, particularly in relation to Africa: that these technologies have the potential to reconfigure and revolutionise the development trajectories of entire countries (Donner &amp; Locke, 2019). But if these narratives are to be the case, then, indeed, the role that mobile devices can play in production (in this case of art, media, and design) is going to have to be something that allows people in the global South to earn a living. This paper presents an exploration of the creative practices, with a focus on mobile creative practices, of a cohort of Extended Curriculum Program (ECP) Visual Design students from a university in Cape Town, South Africa (2014). All of these students came from low-income, resource constrained contexts in the townships that surround Cape Town. In questioning whether mobile technologies can help young South African creatives forge careers or attain resources that could help them do so, the role of mobile technologies is complicated. While these devices offer new emerging creative affordances, and in some cases, can offer means to generate income, the material reality is a different story. I conclude by arguing that instead of these devices offering access to a global network, they, at best, provide the means for young creatives, such as those featured in this study, to a forge a media patchwork.</p> Marija Anja Venter Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11356 THE MEMEIFICATION OF #SCHOOLSHOOTINGS IN THE U.S.: YOUTH, TIKTOK, AND PLAYFUL MEDIATED BODIES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11357 <p>With active shooter drills as a normal part of student experiences in the U.S., the threat of a school shooting has become commonplace and institutionalized. Within a context of cultural trauma, it is no surprise that teens are using digital media to create spaces for sense-making, placemaking, and as a way to respond to the constant threat of violence. Focusing on the mediated memeification of school shootings, there exists an entire genre of #darkhumor videos on TikTok in which young people create and circulate irreverent humorous media texts as a response to the constant threat of – and perceived political inaction to - school shootings in the U.S. Through a content and discursive analysis of 200 #darkhumor #schoolshooting videos on TikTok, this paper asks: what can we learn about how young people understand cultural trauma through an examination of their playful and memetic social media practices? Videos are categorized into three groups: $2 (which address media stereotypes, tropes, and transactional survival), $2 (which address the absurdity of school violence and the failure of neoliberal responses), and $2 (which depict dance and movement as celebratory distractions). While the playful and irreverent videos can be read through a lens of critique, satire, or parody, the memetic, social, corporeal, and performative nature of TikTok affords related yet distinct practices and modes of playful social engagement that I refer to as the mediated playful body.</p> Jacqueline Ryan Vickery Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11357 REQUIREMENTS AND DESIDERATA FOR THE SCHOLARY USE OF WEB ARCHIVES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11358 <p>The web and online information has become of utmost importance. However, the short lifespan of online data (with 40% of content being removed after 1 year) poses serious challenges for preserving and safeguarding digital heritage and information. Hence, web or media historians, sociologists or digital scholars must learn to "dig" in online sources such as the Internet Archive or national web archives in order to find relevant research material. In this paper, we explore the requirements of researchers working with web archives and outline how they perceive the limitations and possibilities of using the archived web as a data resource, using survey data (n=154). We asked researchers with and without experience in working with web archives for, amongst others, the search functionalities and selection and access criteria they require. Given that archived web content is relatively new research material, new skills need to be acquired to work with this content which is not something evident or something every researcher is willing to do. Yakel &amp; Thores (2003) point to three distinct forms of knowledge required to work effectively with these sources: (i) domain (subject) knowledge, (ii) artifactual literacy, and their own concept of (iii) archival intelligence. In addition to arriving at significant findings that demonstrate the relationship between researcher’s domain (subject) knowledge, archival intelligence and use frequency of web archives, this study discusses the limitations of using the archived web as a data resource and concludes with actions to overcome these hurdles and fulfill the desiderata of scholars.</p> Eveline Maria Florentina Vlassenroot Sally Chambers Friedel Geeraert Peter Mechant Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11358 DINING ‘ON AND OFF’: FOOD, WELLBEING AND WECHAT USE AMONG OLDER CHINES MIGRANTS IN AUSTRALIA https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11359 <p>This study examines how WeChat, one of the most popular Chinese messenger applications installed on smartphone, facilitates the formation of an older Chinese diasporic space that is centered around the self-nurturing diet (yinshi yangsheng) cultural discourse in Australia. Media has traditionally played a crucial role in disseminating yangsheng-related information and knowledge in China (Sun 2016). However, currently literature in older Chinese people’s media consumption mainly focuses on experience and processes within China few have paid attention to surging number of older Chinese who are ageing in a transnational context. Through analysing data collected from eight focused group (12 people each) conducted at a Chinese restaurant in Brisbane, Australia, and examining OCM participants’ WeChat use,it is found that WeChat not only facilitates the formation of an older Chinese social space in Australia but the platform has acted as a self- and mutual-reliance mechanism for OCMs to negotiate and make sense of their biological change of ageing and biographic change of transnational migration.</p> Wilfred Yang Wang Yanan Jana Yang Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11359 BURYING THE DEAD (USERS): A LIFE OF DATA WITHIN LIMITS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11360 <p>Technological innovation depends on earthly resources. As such, the drive to continuous growth that has propelled technology forward is also in direct competition with a planet that is reaching capacity. This expansion and consumption model has both supported and neglected the data of the dead, which both proliferates and languishes. For example, as researchers across disciplines have noted, the dead may soon outnumber the living on social media. Questions about digital remains should attend not only to social media profiles but also to the life cycles of data. This paper considers environmental and resource-related questions about the traces we leave when we depart. To do this work, a theoretical methodological approach following the Computing within LIMITS model (Nardi et al, 2018) is employed to consider the accumulation of data that remains after users have departed from their earthly (and digital) lives. LIMITS is a sustainability model that asks researchers to (1) question growth, (2) consider models of scarcity, and (3) reduce energy and material consumption. That is, this paper questions the life of digital data that can be maintained and can even grow after a user passes on. In addition to questions about mourning, memorializing, and archiving the dead, the LIMITS model prompts ethical questions about how to bury our dead data responsibly and sustainably in the face of exponential growth.</p> Sarah Welsh Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11360 THE POLITICS OF INTERNET FREEDOM RANKINGS: A CALL FOR A COMPARATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSING INTERNET FREEDOM https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11362 <p>This paper critically assesses current regimes of internet governance and the role of internet freedom rankings therein. In particular, it aims to initiate a debate ultimately leading to the development of a ground-breaking comparative framework for assessing internet policy, departing from the assumption that current frameworks for measuring internet freedom are predicated too strictly on the dichotomy of democracy/non-democracy. Most stakeholders involved in benchmarking internet freedom approach it from a Western-leaning perspective that uncritically assumes that democracy-related practices are embedded in the very origins of the internet and therefore, the levels of democratisation can serve as valid indicators of internet freedom. As a result, these frameworks lack $2 when applied to invasive policies and public administration practices implemented in democracies, while lacking $2 when applied to policies and practices in non-democracies. The conceptualization and operationalization of the concept of internet freedom that underlies internet freedom rankings is of particular importance since the promotion of internet freedom is an integral part of foreign policy and rankings serve as a source of information and justification for prioritizing funding and efforts. Rankings can also impact states’ reputations, serve as advocacy tools in public diplomacy, but also impede justified criticism aimed at states who score well on key indicators. Through this intervention piece, we aim to initiate debate on developing an alternative framework for assessing internet policy. Shifting attention away from the singular focus on regime kind and politics enables us to develop a more complex system of coordinates for assessment.</p> Mariëlle Wijermars Tetyana Lokot Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11362 QUEER MATERIALITIES AND INSTAGRAM LIVE INTERVIEWING: COMMUNITY ENTANGLEMENTS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11363 <p>Digital community making through a live entanglement of the self and social media, offers up new pathways for thinking through human and nonhuman divides. Queer activism and feminist art on Instagram has made way for a reframing of what constitutes a ‘digital community’ (boyd 2011, Baym 2015, Oakley 2018). This paper thinks through the materiality of this feminist activist art community through the method of ‘Instagram live interviewing’. Drawing from a larger project that aims to understand the ways activist art practice on Instagram subverts heterosexual norms and patriarchal representation, we argue that the ‘live’ nature (Back, 2012) of the Instagram live interview (Hickey-Moody and Willcox, 2019) mobilizes a new type of queer materiality. By applying Karen Barad’s (2007) feminist new materialist theory of ‘intra-action’ to Rosi Braidotti's thinking about posthuman experience as intra-acting with aspects of the world that she classifys as non-human (2013), we reconceptualize some of the literature around digital community making to account for the needs of those often left out of heteronormative and mainstream narratives. This entanglement of liveness and intra-action in our methodology explores the feeling of ‘community’ as being a feeling that is central to human subjectivity and experience. Through a lens of queer materiality, we suggest that community can therefore be produced by more-than-human assemblages, and argue that a more nuanced account of digital community making which accounts for live Instagram intra-actions, and human to nonhuman relationality is needed.</p> Marissa Grace Willcox Anna Catherine Hickey-Moody Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11363 DIGITAL STRESS IN EVERYDAY LIFE https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11364 <p>In our paper we want to explore inductively the perceived characteristics and forms of digital stress in people's everyday life. How do they describe digital stress, is it different from other forms of stress and how does digital stress express itself? The focus is not genuinely on the topic of digital stress, but on the attempt to make this phenomenon empirically tangible and to link it to concepts of digital wellbeing. If everyday discourses are primarily concerned with new possibilities or negative implications associated with the use of digital technologies and media, we would like to turn to a more holistic perspective which builds on subjective perceptions as well as practices. This ensures not only that the ambivalent potential of digital media is taken into account, but also that the media repertoire of the users is considered in its full complexity</p> Jeffrey Wimmer Lisa Waldenburger Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11364 IMAGES OF POST-MASTECTOMY SCARRING ON INSTAGRAM: AN EVALUATION OF CONTENT MODERATION AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11365 <p>This paper presents the results of a pilot study examining the moderation of images depicting post-mastectomy scaring on Instagram by skin tone darkness and the presence or absence of tattoos. It focuses on Instagram given widespread concerns that images of women’s bodies are arbitrarily moderated on the platform, and on depictions of post-mastectomy scarring, one of few explicitly allowed categories of content on Instagram, because mastectomies have important ramifications for women’s self-image and identity worldwide. After using an input/output method of black box analytics, in conjunction with content analysis, preliminary data show potential false positives (n = 31/74 images). While these results are not statistically significant, there is a strong argument for further in-depth investigation as there appears to be differences in removal rates by presence of tattoos and by skin tone darkness. Specifically, a logistic regression suggests that the odds of an image being removed increase by a factor of 1.21 for every unit increase in skin tone darkness. Potential arbitrariness is concerning in this context for many reasons, including that content takedowns can have negative effects on the well-being of women seeking to share their experiences with, or learn from the experiences of, others who have undergone mastectomies. This research ultimately aims to make valuable contributions to the growing body of literature on the moderation of female forms on Instagram and contribute to ongoing debates around the transparency and accountability of platform governance more broadly.</p> Alice E A Witt Yonaira M Rivera Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11365 EVOLVING IDENTITY ECONOMIES IN SOCIAL VIRTUAL WORLDS https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11366 <p>It is only in the past few years that the public has had much access to embodied, immersive, social virtual worlds through consumer virtual reality hardware. While these new experiences are still restricted to those who can access the proper equipment and have sufficient network connectivity, academics and others have rushed to explore and explain them. A rich history of experimental research scaffolds our understanding of what the experience of embodiment in an avatar brings to social experiences in immersive virtual reality. However, properly understanding these phenomena will also require a deep understanding of the history of social virtual worlds. Historically, platform constraints and affordances have influenced how people experience and express the social self in virtual worlds, and this has resulted in different “places” having different cultures, norms, and behaviors. We discuss how these cultures and norms may affect what users expect from an embodied experience, and how these expectations in turn will affect their concerns about privacy and identity. Specifically, different virtual cultures will result in different forms of “identity economies” in which users will either pay or exchange data to achieve embodiment. To illustrate, we discuss two models of embodied virtual reality worlds. We propose that this framing will help us to better understand how virtual worlds have evolved and are experienced now; how they may be studied, and how they may continue to evolve in the future as VR technologies create new experiences, affordances and limitations.</p> Andrea Stevenson Won Donna Zimmerman Davis Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11366 "BRINGING YOUR VISION TO LIFE": PRODUCTION PLATFORMS AND INDUSTRY UNITY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11367 <p>In this paper, we introduce the notion of production platforms by exploring the political economy of the real-time animation platform Unity by Unity Technologies. Contributing to the debate on the ‘platformization of cultural production’ by examining the penetration of Unity’s economic, infrastructural, and governance extensions beyond its platform boundaries, we argue Unity has become the de facto default for the development of apps thereby impacting the production and circulation of immersive content. To explore the impact of Unity’s role in the wider process of platformization we draw on an archive of corporate documentation and promotional material, news coverage, and industry data. We situate the platform within Unity Technologies’ culture and business strategies, which enrolls and keeps developers ‘tethered’ to its proprietary platform. We found Unity’s diffusion and growth has evolved along three lines, economic expansion, infrastructural integration, and regulatory control through a series of acquisitions and business partnerships with industry-specific technologies. While there are competing real-time animation platforms, Unity Technologies’ focus on economic and infrastructural integration with industry-specific technologies and companies has made it indispensable for real-time animation workflows. As a result, global businesses such as Disney, Toyota, and Nintendo use Unity in their design process. Our analysis signals a broader shift in the cultural production of apps where a small group of production platforms shape the production, distribution, and circulation of real-time animation products. In many ways, Unity not only animates the life of the internet, but it also brings to life visions of the material world around us.</p> Chris J. Young David B. Nieborg Daniel J. Joseph Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11367 LIVING WITH THE SMARTPHONE: RELIGIOUS MUSLIM FAMILIES IN ISRAEL PRACTICE MOBILITY AND PIETY https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11368 <p>We explore practices and meanings involved in the adoption of the smartphone among religious Muslim families in Israel, analyzing interviews conducted with 25 families (91 members) that belong to an ethnic and national minority in the country. Our analysis suggests that the adoption of the smartphone involves a multilayered interpretive work. We focus on the family, asking how its members negotiate a medium that undermines traditional parental and religious authorities, while providing them with intense and renewed ways of practicing their familial ties and religious commitments. As against the backdrop of several mostly quantitative studies of Palestinian Arabs in Israel, we analyze our respondents’ discourse in order to outline the intricate relationships between mothers and fathers; between siblings; between parents and their children, and the children’s imagined peer group; and between the interviewees and their extended family. We complement this analysis with a focus on religion, describing a range of Muslim mobile apps that allow our interviewees to practice their religion, as well as widely used apps – mostly WhatsApp groups – which afford virtual gatherings for promoting charity, pilgrimage and Quran reading. The analysis highlights the particular tensions that are woven into our interviewees’ uses: they are concerned over their participation in social media, the authenticity of the texts they encounter, and their relationships with local and trans-local religious authorities. These questions are implicated in Muslim doctrines and in the predicament of Palestinian Arab families in Israel – and in the affordances of social media and online mobile phones.</p> Muhammad Younis Rivka Ribak Khaula Abu Baker Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11368 ETHICAL REVIEW BOARDS AND PERVASIVE DATA RESEARCH: GAPS AND OPPORTUNITIES https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/11369 <p>The growing prevalence of data-rich networked information technologies—such as social media platforms, smartphones, wearable devices, and the internet of things —brings an increase in the flow of rich, deep, and often identifiable personal information available for researchers. More than just “big data,” these datasets reflect people’s lives and activities, bridge multiple dimensions of a person’s life, and are often collected, aggregated, exchanged, and mined without them knowing. We call this data “pervasive data,” and the increased scale, scope, speed, and depth of pervasive data available to researchers require that we confront the ethical frameworks that guide such research activities. Multiple stakeholders are embroiled in the challenges of research ethics in pervasive data research: researchers struggle with questions of privacy and consent, user communities may not even be aware of the widespread harvesting of their data for scientific study, platforms are increasingly restricting researcher’s access to data over fears of privacy and security, and ethical review boards face increasing difficulties in properly considering the complexities of research protocols relying on user data collected online. The results presented in this paper expand our understanding of how ethical review board members think about pervasive data research. It provides insights into how IRB professionals make decisions about the use of pervasive data in cases not obviously covered by traditional research ethics guidelines, and points to challenges for IRBs when reviewing research protocols relying on pervasive data.</p> Michael Zimmer Edward Chapman Copyright (c) 2020 AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020-10-05 2020-10-05 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11369