danah boyd

How Censoring Craigslist Helps Pimps, Child Traffickers, and Other Abusive Scumbags

[Originally posted at Huffington Post]

For the last 12 years, I’ve dedicated immense amounts of time, money, and energy to end violence against women and children. As a victim of violence myself, I’m deeply committed to destroying any institution or individual leveraging the sex-power matrix that results in child trafficking, nonconsensual prostitution, domestic violence, and other abuses. If I believed that censoring Craigslist would achieve these goals, I’d be the first in line to watch them fall.

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Regulating the Use of Social Media Data

If you were to walk into my office, I’d have a pretty decent sense of your gender, your age, your race, and other identity markers. My knowledge wouldn’t be perfect, but it would give me plenty of information that I could use to discriminate against you if I felt like it. The law doesn’t prohibit me for “collecting” this information in a job interview nor does it say that discrimination is acceptable if you “shared” this information with me.

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Social Steganography: Learning to Hide in Plain Sight

[Posted originally to the Digital Media & Learning blog.]

Carmen and her mother are close. As far as Carmen’s concerned, she has nothing to hide from her mother so she’s happy to have her mom as her ‘friend’ on Facebook. Of course, Carmen’s mom doesn’t always understand the social protocols on Facebook and Carmen sometimes gets frustrated. She hates that her mom comments on nearly every post, because it “scares everyone away…Everyone kind of disappears after the mom post…It’s just uncool having your mom all over your wall. That’s just lame.”

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Social Divisions between Orkut & Facebook in Brazil

I have been writing about social divisions between Facebook and MySpace for some time now, focused exclusively on American teenager dynamics. Yet, every time I post about this subject, folks write to me to ask if I know much about social divisions elsewhere in the world. Alas, I have never done fieldwork outside of the US and so most of my knowledge is second-hand. Even worse, I’m never quite sure where to point people to.

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A Few Thoughts on Name Changes & Reputation

I’ve changed my name twice. First, I took my (now ex) stepfather’s last name when I was a child. At 18, I started the process to take my maternal grandfather’s name to honor him and to create an identity that meant something to me. The process was finalized when I was 22. And let me tell you, it was a Pain in the F* Ass.

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Facebook Privacy Settings: Who Cares?

Eszter Hargittai and I just published a new article in First Monday entitled: “Facebook privacy settings: Who cares?”

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MySpace and Facebook: How Racist Language Frames Social Media (and Why You Should Care)

(This post was written for Blogher and originally posted there.)

Every time I dare to talk about race or class and MySpace & Facebook in the same breath, a public explosion happens. This is the current state of things. Unfortunately, most folks who enter the fray prefer to reject the notion that race/class shape social media or that social media reflects bigoted attitudes than seriously address what’s at stake.

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Skin Whitening, Tanning, and Vaseline’s Controversial Facebook Ad Campaign

Growing up as a white girl in Pennsylvania, I was taught that being tan was beautiful. My wealthier classmates would go on vacations to Florida in the winter, coming back with the most glorious tans. And the moment that it started getting warm, everyone would spend excessive amounts of time outside in an effort to get as dark as possible. I hated this charade for completely banal reasons.
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Four Essays Addressing Risky Behaviors and Online Safety

At Harvard’s Berkman Center, John Palfrey, Urs Gasser, and I have been co-directing the Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative to investigate the role that policy can play in addressing core issues involving youth and media. John has been leading up the Privacy, Publicity, and Reputation track; Urs has been managing Youth Created Content and Information Quality track; and I have been coordinating the Risky Behaviors and Online Safety track.
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“For the Lolz”: 4chan Is Hacking the Attention Economy

(Newbie note: If you have never heard of 4chan, start with the Wikipedia entry and not the website itself. The site tends to offend many adults’ sensibilities. As one of my friends put it, loving LOLcats or rickrolling as outputs is like loving a tasty hamburger; visiting 4chan is like visiting the meat factory. At some point, it’d probably help to visit the meat factory, but that might make you go vegetarian.)
 
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