Regulation and social practice online

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Continuum, 2016, 30 (2), pp. 146 - 157
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Taylor & Francis. This article argues that everyday media practices are foundational to regulation on social media platforms. Beginning from a practice theory perspective, supported by qualitative research conducted on Facebook and Reddit, this paper shows how individual interactions with the platform and with other people on the site shape central regulatory norms on these sites. We suggest that our focus on practice complements existing studies that consider how regulation operates on social media platforms and shows how both practices and algorithms operate in conversation with one another in order to govern these sites. This research sets out an alternative trajectory of regulation, which is not based in law or privately established processes (such as EULAs, ToS or flags) but instead one grounded in the everyday practices of sociality, reciprocity, and perhaps even the maintenance of a particular community ideal.
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