Media and Communications: SWARM Symposium 2019 – School of Literature, Art and Media Media and Communications: SWARM Symposium 2019 – School of Literature, Art and Media

Media and Communications: SWARM Symposium 2019

Building cohesive, productive online communities depends on good governance relationships – particularly with the platforms that host our conversations and content. But increasingly transnational communications platform providers are being portrayed as reluctant to control the violence and misinformation they host, and slow to provide moderation tools that help community managers minimise harmful content and deal with bad behaviour.

In light of the Christchurch Call, the 2019 SWARM Symposium investigate how we can govern online communities more effectively. Keynote speaker Professor Nic Suzor, from Queensland University of Technology’s Law School, argues that this is an opportunity to rethink the basic rules of how the Internet operates, with human rights in focus. He proposes we need a new constitutionalism: real limits on how power is exercised online.

Nic studies the regulation of networked society, including the governance of the internet and social networks, digital copyright, and knowledge commons. He is the Legal Lead of the Creative Commons Australia project and deputy chair of Digital Rights Watch, an Australian non-profit which seeks to ensure that Australians are equipped, empowered and enabled to uphold their digital rights.

Following his provocation, researchers will present diverse perspectives on this rapidly developing field:

  • Jenna Price (University of Technology) analyses the impact of emotional labour on the moderators and administrators of a feminist activist Facebook group
  • Luke Swiatek (University of NSW) and Chris Galloway (Auckland University of Technology) explore how public relations managers (among them policy, crisis management and technology professionals) use AI in governing live streaming and synchronous chat.
  • Tim Koskie (UTS/U Sydney) analyses the distinctive forms of cultural intermediation performed by community managers and moderators in Australian news companies, and how the field of journalism is shaping these roles.
  • Luke Munn (University of Western Sydney) presents “Angry By Design,” a project recently funded by Netsafe, tracing the relationship between technical architectures and toxic communication using Facebook, Twitch, and 4chan as case studies.
  • Fiona Martin and Venessa Paech from the University of Sydney discuss the challenges community managers face in working with their platform providers, based on findings from the 2019 Australian Community Managers Career survey.

To wrap, the Symposium will open up to a panel discussion about the outcomes of the ACCC’s Digital Platforms inquiry, and the types of regulation being proposed by national governments to exercise controls on the power of platform companies.

The Symposium is held in conjunction with the SWARM Australian Community Managers conference held at the University of Sydney on August 21st.

Law Lounge,
New Law building
University of Sydney


Aug 20 2019


9:15 am - 1:00 pm


Free. Register online.

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