I officially launched Digital Medusa in September 2021. It has been challenging but also very fulfilling, and any step towards defeating digital Perseus is worthwhile. Below, I summarize some of what Digital Medusa has done over the past four months and a limited list of what will happen in the new year:
Social Media Governance
- I joined the co-chairs of the Christchurch Call Advisory Committee— a civil society group that advises the New Zealand and France governments on the Christchurch Call commitments, which aim to moderate terrorist, violent extremist content.
- We (Jyoti Panday, Milton Mueller, Dia Kayyali and Courtney Radsch) came up with a framework on analyzing multistakeholder governance initiatives in Content Governance. The framework will be published as a White Paper of Internet Governance Project. Let us know if you have any comments.
- I joined a panel of the Paris Peace Forum on Christchurch Call. Read all about it. Watch.
- My research on Telegram governance became more popular after the Capitol riot in January 2021. NYT piece mentions my research.
- I found an amazing network of people who work on prosocial design. Prosocial design and governance are alternative approaches to heavy content moderation and punitive measures for platform governance. We plan to discuss prosocial governance more in 2022.
- I joined a group convened by Mark Nottingham to discuss how legislative efforts can hamper interoperability of the Internet, and the available remedies.
- Because of the Taliban reign in Afghanistan, I wrote about how sanctions will affect Afghanistan’s access to the Internet. We also had a webinar (thanks to Urban Media Institute) with the Afghan colleagues to discuss the developments/setbacks. The video will be available on this website.
- Fidler and I published an article in the Journal of Information Policy about Internet protocols and controlling social change. We argue that to understand Internet protocols’ effect on society we need to put them in context. Implementation matters and making Internet protocols aligned with human rights without considering context might not bring the social change needed. A lot of discussion went on about this paper on the Internet History mailing list, and there are some very interesting insights (the thread is filled with ad hominem attacks against the authors but even those attacks are good anthropological research materials.)
What will happen in 2022?
- I am helping draft an Internet Governance syllabus that the community can use to convene Internet governance schools and trainings. I am doing this work for the Internet Governance Forum, and it will be in a consultative manner. The plan is to come up with a global syllabus, including core modules but also modules that are elective. There will be a lot of focus on what Schools on Internet Governance (SIGs) do and helping developing countries to more easily convene schools and training on Internet governance.
- Digital Medusa will do more vigorous research about sanctions that affect access to the Internet.
- Along with the Christchurch Call Advisory Network members, Digital Medusa is planning to be very active and find effective ways to contribute to CCAN and the Christchurch Call community.
- Digital Medusa will undertake research and advocate for prosocial governance instead of just focussing on “content moderation” in Social Media Governance
Digital Medusa, for now, includes my (FB) activities. Hopefully, in the new year we can go beyond one Digital Medusa and attract more partners.
Happy new year to all! To a year with fewer Digital Perseus moments and fresher digital governance point of views.