Anna Gibson, “Entrepreneurial Moderation: Managing Speech in the Era of the Influencer”

Thursday, February 29, 2024 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Building E15, 318 (Common Area)
20 AMES ST, Cambridge, MA 02142

For nearly fifty years, the social internet has been facilitated by volunteer moderators and admins: unwaged workers who draw and enforce boundaries of acceptable participation in all manner of digital communities. Today, tens of millions of people across the globe do this labor and enable the success of platforms like Facebook and Reddit.

Drawing on her ethnographic dissertation research, Anna D. Gibson will discuss how volunteer moderators understand and justify their work. While much of the academic literature focuses on moderation as civic and community labor, Dr. Gibson introduces the concept of “entrepreneurial moderation” to articulate a latent discourse of moderation as a means of career advancement through the accumulation of management skills, social connections, and even paying jobs. In this talk she will explain how entrepreneurial moderation can inform our understanding of contemporary digital platform economies, and she will reflect on its implications for the overall future of the social internet.

Dr. Gibson studies the intersection of community, labor, and justice in digital spaces. She earned her MA and PhD from the Department of Communication at Stanford University, where her doctoral work focused on volunteer moderation on Facebook. During her graduate career she earned fellowships with the McCoy Family for Ethics in Society and the Stanford Ethnography Lab, and she was awarded the Centennial Award for excellence in teaching. Her research on content moderation has been published in Social Media + Society. Anna also holds a BA in linguistics and cognitive science from Pomona College.

Event Type


Events By Interest

Academic, Diversity/Inclusion, Arts/Music/Film, General

Events By School

School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS)

Comparative Media Studies/Writing
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