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WPI - Computer Science Department, MS Thesis Presentation, Christopher Micek " Effects of Digital Jury Moderation on the Polarization of Social Media Users "

Monday, August 08, 2022
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm


Effects of Digital Jury Moderation on the Polarization of Social Media Users


Christopher Micek

MS Student

WPI – Computer Science


Monday, August 8, 2022

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Location: Fuller Labs, Beckett Conference Room


Advisor: Prof. Erin Solovey

Reader: Prof. Gillian Smith


As polarization among political officials and the public at large has increased dramatically in recent years, the social media landscape has followed suit. The increased prevalence of disinformation, inflammatory rhetoric, and harassment online has augmented polarization in turn, propelling a feedback loop resulting in the erosion of democratic norms. Effective content moderation can mitigate this problem, but many existing major social media platforms employ moderation systems that are autocratic, with decisions about what sorts of content are acceptable shaped by the platforms themselves, potentially disregarding community knowledge and cultural nuances when making these decisions.

We conducted a two-phase study to compare how a social media platform employing a traditional, top-down moderation system would impact outcome measures of the polarization of its users in comparison to a peer-based digital jury moderation system, which promises to make platform users active participants in digital governance. While our study did not observe a significant impact on the polarization of moderators or users, moderators on average viewed the system as just, legitimate, and effective at reducing harmful content. Furthermore, there were no significant differences between user perceptions of the content they were shown from either system, indicating that implementing such a peer-based digital jury moderation system has the benefit of providing users agency in platform governance without adversely impacting user experience