Summary of “Better Online Living through Content Moderation” by Melissa King

This article discusses how the use of “content control features” such as “block and ignore functions, control/trigger warnings, block lists and privacy options” is viewed by people who do not use them.   Melissa King, the author of the article, states that some people who use the Internet may suffer from mental diseases such as PTSD and “need to avoid topics and people that rigger their anxiety”.   King discusses how people who use these control features often deal with criticism from other people. This criticism includes being deemed as “weak” and “too sensitive”, and this pressures these individuals to allow certain content to be present in their Internet experiences. There have been several debates on the topic of online harassment being simply “mean words said on the Internet, with no real threat to safety of someone or their family”.  King quotes Caleb Lack, a licensed clinical psychologist and psychology professor, who explained that “ you can ‘get’ PTSD from Twitter. One needs to be careful, though, to be specific about this: it’s the bullying and harassment that could lead to PTSD or PTSD symptoms, not anything inherent to Twitter itself.” Basically he is saying that long-term exposure to cyber bullying can in fact cause PTSD. The people who seem to be against block lists are often “people who do not harass or threaten other people” and they fail to realize how detrimental cyber bullying can truly...

Reading Summary #6

In the article, Better Online Living through Content Moderation, Melissa King argues that the use of content control features benefit users by lessening the chance of negative responses to harmful or insulting content that may be seen online. Some examples of these controls are content/trigger warnings, block and ignore functions, blocklists, and privacy options (King, lines 1-2). The reason for these privacy precautions is to stop users from seeing content that may trigger PTSD, an anxiety attack, or other negative feelings. King describes these as valid reasons and goes on to state that, “In fact, there is no such thing as an invalid reason: nobody should be required to read or listen to content if they do not want to” (King, lines 7-9). Although content controls are a positive feature, there are some people that disagree. King allows readers to see these controls from the negative perspective, but provides a valid argument against opinions like these. Those who are against content controls often perceive users that utilize them as weak or over sensitive (King, lines 10-11). Situations in which users are being attacked or bothered by online aggressors are thought of as the victim’s problem instead of the antagonist’s doing. Others think these users should just toughen up and be less sensitive, which goes hand in hand with the Exposure Theory. This theory is designed to put a stop to anxiety by slowly exposing the subject to the source (King, lines 27-28). However, this theory does not come in handy when it comes to content controls. The Exposure Theory is all about controlled exposure; the Internet has no control...
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