I’m extremely excited to announce the commencement of my new research project. For the next three years, funded by an Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship, I will be examining the way that internet content is moderated and policed.
Governments, private firms, and civil society groups are increasingly seeking to influence the organisations that provide internet services to take more responsibility for content on their networks. Globally, these organisations receive millions of requests to remove content posted by users each month.
This project seeks to understand how online intermediaries respond to takedown requests in three areas: copyright, defamation, and abusive speech (particularly racial and gendered hate speech). It seeks to create new knowledge about how intermediaries are influenced by both governments and private actors to regulate internet content, and how due process and freedom of speech can be protected.
Ultimately, I seek to help governments, firms, and civil society organisations address harmful content online in more sophisticated ways. I hope that this research will help to develop systems to protect the due process and free speech rights of individuals from illegitimate takedown requests, while better protecting people from abuse and harm.
Practically, this means that I will not be teaching for the next three years, and will work full time on this project. I’ll be working closely with colleagues in the Digital Media Research Centre at QUT as we continue to work on research to develop better, more legitimate policies and processes to regulate the internet.