By Khari Johnson
Victims of stalking, harassment, hate, election interference, and other abuses have for years argued that we need to rethink the way social media functions. But a consensus has been growing in recent weeks among people tired of the way social media works today, with advocates for reform ranging from civil rights groups to antitrust regulators to Prince Harry.
The work of University of California, Berkeley associate professor Niloufar Salehi might very well play a role in such a process. Salehi was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to consider what it would be like to apply principles of restorative justice to conflicts that occur on social media platforms...
VentureBeat: So how did your research into restorative justice in social media start?
Salehi: This work came out of a research project that I was doing with a group called #BuyTwitter, and the idea was “What if users bought Twitter and ran it as a collectively owned co-op?” And one of the big questions that came up was “How would you actually run it in a sort of democratic way?” Because there weren’t any models for doing that. So basically the group reached out to me as someone who does social system design and understands online social systems, and one of the first things we did was consider the problems that exist with the current model.
Niloufar Salehi is an assistant professor at the School of Information. She specializes in computer-mediated communication and HCI.