Fall Travel 2018

Working away on Book Two! A few trips this fall:

October 10-13: AOIR in Montreal; participating in the Early Career workshop and presenting on a great panel on disinfo featuring me, Sam Woolley, Francesca Tripodi and Caroline Jack

October 17: On the Science of Disinformation panel at the Harvard Data Science Initiative conference, Boston, MA.

October 27-28: Locked out of Social Platforms: An iCS Symposium on Challenges to Studying Disinformation (IT University, Copenhagen, Denmark) – keynote

November 2: “My Mother Was a Computer”: Legacies of Gender and Technology” digital humanities symposium at William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA

New Paper: Why do people share fake news?

I’m really proud of this paper. It’s my attempt to further a new model of media effects that takes into account active audiences, media messages, and technological affordances. I focus on conservative audiences for fake news as a case study.

Basically: People share fake news because it furthers partisan narratives that are promoted by mainstream (mostly) conservative media and expresses personal and political identity.


  • Most fake news isn’t political, but sensational. Still more is created to be polysemic and appeal to people across the political spectrum in order to increase viewership (and therefore money).
  • Conservative fake news doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Much of it builds on “deep stories” that have been present on Fox News for decades.
  • The mainstream media (NYTimes, WaPo, etc.) is tied to an elite, liberal identity. Part of this is due to years of conservative media promoting the idea that urban elites look Continue reading "New Paper: Why do people share fake news?"

Travel updates 2018

I’m trying to keep my travel schedule fairly light so I can finish the book, but here’s what’s coming up:

  • June 29- July 1: CSST Decennial Sociotech Futures Symposium – Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Two personal trips to NYC in July, one including a dissertation defense 🙂
  • October 10-13: AOIR in Montreal; participating in the Early Career workshop and presenting on a great panel on disinfo featuring me, Sam Woolley, Francesca Tripodi and Caroline Jack
  • October 27-28: Locked out of Social Platforms: An iCS Symposium on Challenges to Studying Disinformation (IT University, Copenhagen, Denmark) – keynote
  • November 2: “My Mother Was a Computer”: Legacies of Gender and Technology” digital humanities symposium at William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA

Recent publications

This blog has been sadly neglected! Here are some new publications you may be interested in: Gilman, M., Madden, M., Levy, K & Marwick, A. (forthcoming). “Privacy, Poverty and Big Data: A Matrix of Vulnerabilities for Poor Americans.” Washington University Law Review. https://ssrn.com/abstract=2930247
Poor people are burdened many times over by data collection and privacy intrusion. Not only are the poor subject to more surveillance than other subpopulations, and at higher stakes—but in addition, their patterns of privacy-relevant behaviors and device use open poor Americans’ data to greater vulnerability. We demonstrate these behavioral patterns using original empirical data from a nationally representative survey, and suggest that differences like these must be considered in privacy-protective policymaking and design decisions.
I had never worked on a law review article before. The lack of word limits was very liberating, as was working with such stellar co-authors. Michele Gilman is Continue reading "Recent publications"

Speaking at Hunter College today on the Fappening

I am speaking at Hunter College today (November 4th) at 1:30pm about my work on the celebrity nude photo leaks on Reddit last year. This promises to be a fantastic panel about sex, celebrities, gossip, and social media! Sex, Lies and Cyberspace The work is in-progress, but I’m interested in the ethical discourse around leaking celebrity nudes, and what it tells us about public conceptions of privacy (especially for women).

Maternity Leave

I am on maternity leave this semester because my husband and I produced this little muffin: muffin Unsurprisingly I am very much enjoying being home with him! With that being said, I am working on a few things: I am doing a few local talks this semester, but no academic travel. See you all next year!

Fall Speaking Events

Here’s where I’m talking this semester: October 15th, 2014
Wellesley College (my alma mater!), Wellesley, MA
Newhouse Center for the Humanities Faculty Working Group “Investigating the Socio-Technical” October 21-24, 2014
Association of Internet Researchers annual meeting 15.0, Daegu, Korea
Show Me Your Selfies pre-conference workshop, showing off the work we’ve been doing with the Selfie Research Network.
Panel on 10 Years of Facebook with Brady Robards, Sian Lincoln, Ben Light and Neha Kumar November 10, 2014
Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan
Talking about Networked Privacy in social media November 19, 2014
Privacy Research Group, New York University
Talking about popular conceptions of ethics around the celebrity nudes hacking scandal

New Study Released: Legal Implications of Online Harassment

Working with the wonderful people at Fordham Law’s Center on Law and Information Policy, I’m happy to announce we are releasing our newest research report: Online Harassment, Defamation, and Hateful Speech: A Primer of the Legal Landscape
This interdisciplinary project focused on online speech directed at women and seeks to provide a primer on (i) what legal remedies, if any, are available for victims of sexist, misogynist, or harassing online speech, and (ii) if such legal remedies and procedures exist, whether practical hurdles stand in the way of victims’ abilities to stop harassing or defamatory behavior and to obtain legal relief. The study concluded that while online harassment and hateful speech is a significant problem, there are few legal remedies for victims. This is partly due to issues of jurisdiction and anonymity, partly due to the protection of internet speech under the First Amendment, and partly due to the lack of expertise and resources on online speech at various levels of law enforcement. Given this landscape, the problem of online harassment and hateful speech is unlikely to be solved solely by victims using existing laws; law should be utilized in combination with other practical solutions. The objective of the project is to provide a resource that may be used by the general public, and in particular, researchers, legal practitioners, Internet community moderators, and victims of harassment and hateful speech online.
Download the paper for free at SSRN. This report was inspired by the many high-profile incidents of women (esp. women of color and queer women) harassed online in the last few years. Before digging deeper into the sociological implications, I was curious as to whether there was room in the current legal landscape to prosecute such actions, whether civilly or criminally. Because internet speech is (rightfully) protected under the First Amendment, any laws criminalizing online speech have to be written very carefully. The specifics of the words used (calling someone a “ho” versus a “bitch”), the threats made (“burn at the stake” vs. “publicly execute”), and the venue in which they appear (Facebook vs. email, for instance) are all crucially important. While 37 states have cyberharassment laws, they are often written to circumvent First Amendment protections (and it remains to be seen whether they will be upheld as constitutional). Continue reading "New Study Released: Legal Implications of Online Harassment"

New talk: Big Data, Data-Mining, and the Social Web

Today I gave a talk at the Power, Privacy & the Internet event hosted by the New York Review of Books. I was on a heavy-hitting panel with the wonderful James Bamford, who has been writing books taking the NSA to task since I was playing with Barbies– and as a result, knows more about where the NSA came from and where it is going than anyone else I’ve ever met. Rounding out the panel was Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, who has been
<href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/surveillance-obama-privacy-nsa-reform-96236.html">pressuring the Obama administration to reform the NSA and has met personally with the three out of five members of Obama’s new NSA review board. Phew. My talk, in contrast, was about the corporate collecting of personal data. I had just seen a fantastic presentation at AOIR by Dave Parry on the Obama campaign’s use of data-mining techniques, and was well-prepared as a result (thanks Dave!). Here’s the first paragraph of the talk:
While recent revelations regarding the NSA’s role in the collection and mining of the personal information and digital activities of millions of people across the world have garnered immense media attention and public outcry, there are equally troubling and equally opaque systems run by advertising, marketing and data-mining firms which have not attracted as much attention. Using techniques ranging from supermarket loyalty cards to targeted Facebook advertising, private companies systematically collect very personal information, from who you are, to what you do, to what you buy. Data about your online and offline behavior is combined, analyzed, and sold to marketers, corporations, governments, and even criminals. The scope of this collection, aggregation, and brokering of information is similar to, if not larger than, that of the NSA, yet it is almost entirely unregulated and many of the activities of data-mining and digital marketing firms creep under the radar.

You can download a PDF of the entire talk here. Thanks much to #aoircamp for the time and space in which to write it up.

Status Update is out! Upcoming events!

So Status Update is shipping! Peep this photo from my brother: status_update_dave This month I’m giving a series of talks, strangely few of which have anything to do with the book. Here’s the full list: October 30, New York, NY
Power, Privacy and the Internet, sponsored by the New York Review of Books
I’m speaking on the first panel, discussing how personal information is collected by marketers and corporations, and how voluntary data collection like that of the Quantified Self movement (which I discuss in my Lifestreaming chapter of Status Update) fits into all of it. November 1-2nd, New York, NY
Celebrities and Publics in the Internet Era, sponsored by Public Culture
I’m presenting a new paper called “Instafame: Luxury Selfies in the Attention Economy” on Instagram fame, natch. The fabulous Laura Portwood-Stacer is my respondent. November 11, Los Angeles, CA
Annenberg Research Seminar, USC
Networked Privacy and Social Surveillance
This talk examines the contradictions between traditional, individualistic models of privacy and the affordances of social technologies, which enable people to widely share information about others without consent. The shift to networked privacy is analyzed by examining both how populations manage privacy in networked publics and how networked data challenges how privacy operates. November 20, Kingston, Ottawa, Canada
Surveillance Studies Center Seminar Series
Networked Privacy and Social Surveillance
Traditional models of privacy are individualistic, but networked data challenges how privacy operates. Social technologies enable people to widely share information about others without consent, and investigate what others are doing. This talk examines the relationship between social media, the shift to networked privacy, and the prevalence of social surveillance. And yes, then I’m going to collapse :) Right now I’m at the wonderful Association of Internet Researchers Annual Meeting (#ir14) where I mentored at the amazing Doctoral Colloquium, gave a paper called “There’s no justice like angry mob justice: Regulating Hateful Speech through Internet Vigilantism”, and am on a fishbowl about internet identity, a roundtable about haters (with Kate Miltner), and a roundtable celebrating the new book Twitter and Society, where I have a chapter on Qualitative Research on Twitter. Continue reading "Status Update is out! Upcoming events!"

“They’re Really Profound Women, They’re Entrepreneurs”: Conceptions of Authenticity in Fashion Blogging

I presented this paper at ICWSM this week. It got a great response– I enjoyed the feedback from computer scientists on my qualitative, critical paper about fashion, of all things! I had chosen to exclude it from the conference proceedings because it’s been sent to a journal [computer scientists publish through conferences, social scientists through journal articles], but I’ve gotten many requests and decided to put it online: “They’re Really Profound Women, They’re Entrepreneurs”: Conceptions of Authenticity in Fashion Blogging. [PDF] Citation: Marwick, A. (2013). ““They’re Really Profound Women, They’re Entrepreneurs”: Conceptions of Authenticity in Fashion Blogging.” Presented at the 7th International AIII Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM), July 8, Cambridge, MA. Abstract:
Fashion blogging is an international subculture comprised primarily of young women who post photographs of themselves and their possessions, comment on clothes and fashion, and use self-branding techniques to promote themselves and their blogs. Continue reading "“They’re Really Profound Women, They’re Entrepreneurs”: Conceptions of Authenticity in Fashion Blogging"

Social Media Syllabus

I’m teaching a new class at Fordham called “Social Media.” I spent a ton of time trying to figure out what was most important to cover, and ultimately I could probably teach a 2-year class on the subject. Here’s what I came up with (with class policies, grading rubics, etc. snipped): Social Media | COMM 3307 Class blog: http://socialmedia3307.tumblr.com/ Course Description This class examines the relationship between society and the current crop of computer-mediated communication technologies known as “social media,” including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more. These technologies are often regarded with fear or awe; the purpose of this class is to break down the mythologies of social media and develop methods of analysis and critical understanding. To do this, we will draw from a broad range of social theory including science and technology studies (STS), communication theory, linguistics, cultural studies, and media anthropology to critically evaluate Continue reading "Social Media Syllabus"

On online misogyny and sexism

I was on Al-Jazeera English’s social media show, the Stream, yesterday talking about online sexism and backlash against women. This was my television debut and I was very nervous. TV isn’t like any other form of commentary. You can’t edit what you say, you have to be able to think on your feet and have your talking points down cold. I think I did a good job, but there are a few places where I’d have loved to just be able to write out a big ol’ blog essay instead. The folks at Al-Jazeera were really welcoming and nice and I had a great time. It was also fantastic getting to have a real discussion rather than just a few 10-second soundbites. Notably, the comments on YouTube are mostly about how there’s no such thing as sexism and feminism is a plot against men. Perfectly proving our point!