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Author: Hillary Hubley

Abstract

This article explores how content moderation on social media platforms impacts the work of open-source investigators through its routine removal of content having evidentiary value. These practices have rendered social media platforms susceptible to public criticism and scrutiny. However, these criticisms have largely been levied by a community who cares about content removal’s impact on free expression online. This swath of concerns does not comport with those of international criminal investigators who have increasingly turned to platforms for evidence gathering. Rather than confronting the issue, investigators have absorbed the costs by downplaying the impact of content removal on their work and by seeking to preserve the content on their own. I examine the disconnect between these two groups in their respective approaches to the problem of content removal and argue that both communities can stand to benefit from joining forces and taking notice of the convergence of their respective concerns.

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