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date: 25 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Through a thematic mapping of the current literature and a gap analysis of the field, the chapter sheds light on the discrepancies between emerging digital practices and established theories of free speech. In the contemporary digital age, censorship and surveillance are exercised more and more by private actors such as social media platform operators, while self-expression increasingly takes the form of content forwarding, coded language, and non-human identities. We observe that the current literature shares a “pathological” approach; that is, undesirable content ought to be removed, avoided, and institutionally intervened upon. This approach, however, poses a new set of difficult questions such as who decides what is intolerably extreme and what is acceptably moderate; who designs and implements the filtering of extreme content; and how can the public ensure the accountability of the filtering mechanism.

Keywords: Censorship, extreme content, filtering mechanism, free speech, self-expression, social media, surveillance, undesirable content

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