DFL Researcher Arjita Mital's essay on platform policies was published in IT for Change's curated collection of essays on feminist perspectives on social media governance. Her essay attempts to articulate the unspoken yet active cultural work performed by community guidelines that frame people’s participation on platforms. It highlights the need for a context-specific regulatory document on the behaviours of platform users. The essay brings to the fore the doublespeak of Big Tech platforms that profess to develop community guidelines for the benefit of their users, while actually curbing user expression and autonomy by upholding hegemonic normative standards of the community.
In 'Moderating Bodies: Reproducing Systems of Power through Platform Policies' Arjita analyses secondary literature available on the taxonomy of community guidelines, terms of service, and other public-facing documents around governing policies of platforms where women users create and share content. It further argues that these governing documents, while instituted with the intent of protecting their communities from violence and harm, end up reproducing the same patriarchal conditions that allow that harm to take place.
You can read Arjita's essay on page 55 of the report here.
Arjita's essay is part of a curated compendium of essay submissions from a two-day closed roundtable on ‘Feminist Perspectives on Social Media Governance’. The roundtable was held from 10-20 April 2022, and was organized by IT for Change and InternetLab. Both the roundtable and this compendium are part of IT for Change’s ‘RecognizeResist-Remedy’ project, supported by IDRC (Canada), the World Wide Web Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.