Sarah T. Roberts, an assistant professor of information studies in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, has been awarded part of a $1.5 million Future of Work Grant by the National Science Foundation for her research on decision-making processes and supports for tech workers who moderate online content.
The project, “Augmenting Social Media Content Moderation,” includes outreach and engagement activities with academic and industry members, as well as with policymakers and the public to ensure that the project’s findings and tools support a broad range of stakeholders who are impacted by user-generated content and its moderation. Roberts hopes to help the public develop a better understanding of how content moderation is done and how to support the workforce that labors to keep the internet a safe, open asset to society.
Roberts’ research has centered on commercial content moderation, a term she coined. She has documented challenges to social media and tech companies in monitoring objectionable and dangerous material on their sites through the use of a human workforce that is employed in developing countries and some regions of the United States. Roberts will receive $300,000 of the grant with Donghee Yvette Wohn from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Libby Hemphill of the University of Michigan School of Information.