Sarah Jeong's Harvard lecture: "The Internet of Garbage"

Lawyer and journalist Sarah Jeong is one of the net's best writers, and her new ebook, The Internet Of Garbage, grapples with misogynist harassment and threats online.

Jeong's got a nuanced position about free speech, consequences for bad speech, and gender, and her accompanying Harvard Berkman Center talk does a good job of covering all that ground.

With the international attention on the torrent of Twitter threats sent to Caroline Criado-Perez in 2013 (and the later prosecution of some of the people who sent her those threats), and national attention on the months-long firestorm associated with #Gamergate, "harassment" is a word that is bandied around with increasing frequency. As it becomes more and more obvious that women are disparately impacted by harassment on the Internet, harassment is framed as a civil rights problem, legal solutions are proposed, and vitriol is hurled at platforms for failing to protect female users. There is a pervasive feeling that there is a crisis on the Internet that pits the safety of women against the freedom of speech. Yet the Internet has long grappled with what to do when unwanted speech makes it unusable. The history of the Web—from its oldest forgotten communities to the decades of anti-spam technology—can offer a new lens through which to understand online harassment, along with lessons and caveats.

The Internet of Garbage [Berkman Center]

(via Memex 1.1)