Content Moderation Reading Summary

In this article by Melissa King, she discusses the importance of employing and using content control features in order to limit the amount of harassment that is experienced online. She goes on to say that even with content control features having such positive effects on those that are being harassed, there is still a lot of backlash that is associated with it. Some of the backlash includes the type of criticism that says that people that are being harassed online are being “too weak” or “too sensitive”. Melissa King explains how the general public mostly believes that it is the victims problem when they are attacked online and that they should just deal with it. She says that that point of view is useless because these victims are beginning to suffer from a long term problem.

The long term problem that these victims are beginning to suffer from is PTSD. Many people believe that online harassment can not cause PTSD and that the only people with PTSD are veterans. Melissa King says that this is not true and notes that, “long-term exposure to threatening situations is one of the major causes of PTSD”. She also lists a credible source when she gives a quote from Caleb Lack who is a licensed clinical psychologist and psychology professor. In his quote he basically says that bullying can lead to long term mental health problems and that one of the problems that these bullying victims may encounter is PTSD.

Melissa King notes that one way to stop people from being harassed on the internet is to use a content control called a ‘blocklist’. With this software an internet user can be exposed to only the things that they want to see. This blocklist software can help an internet user avoid seeing malicious emails, threatening sites, and content that can be deemed inappropriate. The big argument against blocklists are that the internet user that’s using it is being unreasonable and subjecting their internet experience to the inclination of others. Melissa King goes on to say that the people making these arguments just do not understand how “viscous” and “pervasive” online harassment can be. She says that the people that object to content control features are basically saying that the abused should spend more time with the abuser.

Melissa King says that these abusers like to use intimidation tactics to get into the head of others. he explains that a good way to avoid being put in this situation is to block the person that is abusing. She goes on to say that women are usually the main target for abuse especially in primarily male dominated activities. For this reason Melissa King finds it to be a necessity that they use content control features. With all of the arguments about content control features being unnecessary, Melissa King says that these people are showing a lack of empathy for the people that are being harassed online and that sometimes these content control methods are the only thing that can bring a victim peace.


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