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Society Meets Social Media at reyerson-2015

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A keynote for the Social Media 2015 Conference at Reyerson University in July 2015.

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Society Meets Social Media at reyerson-2015

  1. 1. Society Meets Social Media: Canaries at the Coal Face of the Internet William H. Dutton Quello Professor of Media and Information Policy Quello Center, Michigan State University Follow @QuelloCenter Presentation for Social Media & Society: 2015 International Conference, 27-29 July, Reyerson University, Toronto.
  2. 2. Outline Opportunities: The Potential of Social Media Problems: Threats to the Vitality of Social Media Prospects: Rise of Policy and Regulatory Initiatives Responses to these Threats Reflections on the Agenda for Social Media Researchers
  3. 3. Social Media and the Internet Enable: Social Connections, Greater Transparency, Accountability, … Empowerment of Networked Institutions, and Networked Individuals Example: Rise of a Fifth Estate [in three slides]
  4. 4. The Idea of a Fifth Estate  Press since the 18th Century – enabling the ‘Fourth Estate’  Internet in the 21st - enabling a Fifth Estate Infrastructure for a critical mass of individuals to source their own information, and network with other individuals in ways that support distributed social accountability in business and industry, government, politics, science, and the media.
  5. 5. Users Source Search (Cues) Network 1st Port of Call Centrality Trust Empowerment of Networked Individuals Underpinning Communicative Power of a 5th Estate* * Themes and findings from the Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS) and complementary case studies.
  6. 6. Multiple Strategies of the Fifth Estate •Find through search or social media •Fact Checkers •Patient or citizen finds information about problems Searching •Individual creates information •Martha Payne’s NeverSecondsSourcing •Distribute or leak information to networks •Whistle Blowers, WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks, Edward SnowdenDistributing-Leaking •Self-selected collorative networks •Sermo, Patients Like MeNetworking •Aggregate information, observations •Rate My Teacher, Bribery Websites, Environmental Sensors Contributing to Collective Intelligence
  7. 7. What is the Problem? Arguably Many Pro-Social, Pro-Democratic Potentials of Social Media and the Internet, such as for a Fifth Estate Apparently Unstoppable Progress of the Internet and related ICTs, such as Social Media - Internet (85% in North America)* - Facebook Subscribers in North America (52%)* - Continuing Innovations in Social Media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, WhatsApp, WeChat, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat, Periscope, Beme, … - More innovations: iWatch, the first Selfie Election … But ‘Hold On’ - *Source: http://www.internetworldstats.com/america.htm [24 July 2015]
  8. 8. Internet & SNS Are Being Reshaped Use of the Internet & SNS Business Models Technical Change Users: Good & Bad Policy, Regulation, Rulings
  9. 9. Moral Panics: Social Media & the Internet
  10. 10. Rise of Governance & Regulation Clarion Call for Politicians to ‘Do Something’ Blind Regulators and the Internet (Indian Parable) Lack of an Appropriate Regulatory Model Image from: http://www.jainworld.com/literature/story25i1.gif
  11. 11. Appropriate Regulatory Models? (Proportionate to Offense) Speech? Press? Post? Data Custodian? Telephony, Common Carrier? Cable? Broadcasting?
  12. 12. Shifting and Alternative Models, e.g., US • First Amendment • Enhanced Computer Services • Patriot Act & Data Collection • Common Carrier: US Network Neutrality, … UK • Communications Act 2003, not Regulating Net, BUT • Snooper’s Charter Communication Data • Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003
  13. 13. Section 127 (traced back to 1935) Sending “by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character” 2012 Appeal Court: “a message which does not create fear or apprehension in those to whom it is communicated, or who may reasonably be expected to see it, falls outside this provision” Later: 10 pages of ‘Guidelines on Prosecuting Cases Involving Communications Sent via Social Media’ by Crown Prosecution Service
  14. 14. Global Trends Driving Regulation Internet & Social Media Regulation Significance of the Net Digital Divides Trust Bubble + Snowden Moral Panics? (Social Media) ‘Left Out’ of Policy National Policy & Regulation
  15. 15. The Coming Decade Last Decade’s Narrative: Technical Innovations The Next Decade’s Narrative: Policy, Regulation & Governance Risk: Undermining the Vitality of the Internet and Social Media, and their Democratic and Societal Potential
  16. 16. What Can be Done? Analytical, Empirical Study, such as the Objects of Panics, Media Effects Study of Gov’t & Industry Regulation, e.g., Real Names, Moderation Develop More Appropriate Regulatory Model(s) Education of Users & Regulators Pro-active Use of Social Media: US Digital Outreach Team, VOA Data Protection: US FTC’s Consumer Data Watchdog, European DP Design (e.g., for privacy, anonymity, civility, accountability)
  17. 17. A Role for Social Media Researchers? Stick to Our Knitting: Use Social Media Study Social Media Do and/or Critique Policy Research Engage Debates Inform & Educate Outreach (Press, SNS)
  18. 18. Society Meets Social Media: Canaries at the Coal Face of the Internet William H. Dutton Quello Professor of Media and Information Policy Quello Center, Michigan State University Follow @QuelloCenter Presentation for Social Media & Society: 2015 International Conference, 27-29 July, Reyerson University, Toronto.

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