Charles Céleste Hutchins - @BlockAllTwerps
Lecture | Art Meets Radical Openness 2016
Festival dedicated to Art, hacktivism & Open Culture.
Twitter is awash with rubbish. Aside from annoying or uninteresting content, there is the intentionally bad: tweets that are posted when one community is thrown together with another community with conflicting goals. For example, fascists take exception to feminists and a pile-on ensues. This dynamic is exacerbated by the fact that Twitter is a largely unmoderated platform.
Although blocking tools can prevent targets from seeing harassment, abusive tweets function as a form of performativity which attackers use to impress each other and to shore up their group identity. This rubbish is therefore meaningful within a social milieu.
Meanwhile, those under attack have taken to using block lists as a form of shared data within communities, as users turn to collaborative blocking as a means to respond to lack of moderation.
I explore this creation of blocking tools as a form of gendered labour, given that women are disproportionally likely to suffer online abuse.
However, these shared tools have a darker side: in creating big-data style blocking lists, some community members can find themselves shut out if they are caught up in the filters.
Charles Céleste Hutchins was born in San Jose, California in 1976. Growing up in Silicon Valley, he started programming at a young age and has continued to do so, even after leaving dot coms to peruse music composition – obtaining an MA form Wesleyan University in 2005 and a PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2012. His recent work has focussed on gendered labour and AI.
Video licence: servus.at, CC BY-SA