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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores some of the unstated assumptions of legal debates surrounding free speech on the Internet and brings into view alternative analytical categories and perspectives that have been eclipsed by these debates. Drawing on an ethnographic study of Meridian 180, a multilingual online platform, it highlights the importance of the infrastructure of digital platforms as techno-social configurations and sites of collective commitment. A focus on the platform that sustains online speech brings into view the work of hosting or preparing the speech—and the sociality it engenders. The chapter concludes that we need new categories foreign to legal and anthropological analysis alike—such as friendship—to make critical sense of the sociality of the platform.

Keywords: sociality, platform, regulation, speech, digital technologies, network, dialogue, relations, friendship

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