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Distinguished Lecture Series

Update May 5: Event Canceled

The HCDE 2024 Distinguished Lecture event with Yoel Roth is unfortunately canceled due to illness. We hope to reschedule it at a later date.

In lieu of the lecture, please join members of HCDE’s faculty for a social hour on Monday, May 6, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in HUB 332. Refreshments will be provided.

The Judith Ramey and Stephanie Rosenbaum Distinguished Lecture Series

Yoel Roth

Yoel Roth

trust and safety practitioner and researcher

MONDAY, MAY 6, 2024
4 - 5 P.M. 
Reception to follow
HUB, room 332

RSVP here

Decentralizing online safety and security: The promises and perils of federated social media

Years of sustained research, activism, regulatory intervention, and investment by civil society and technology platforms has helped bring about awareness of and some degree of control over the harmful externalities generated by social media platforms. As the social media landscape undergoes broad transformation for the first time in over a decade, with alternative platforms like Mastodon, Bluesky, and Threads emerging where Twitter has receded, the temptation has been to celebrate the promise of these new services and their visions of alternative governance structures that empower consumers. Unfortunately, they also have many of the same affordances and propensities for harmful misuse as mainstream, while possessing few if any of the hard-won detection and moderation capabilities necessary to stop them. More troublingly, substantial technological, governance, and financial obstacles exist to developing these necessary functions. Drawing on empirical research into platform moderation capabilities, this talk discusses the ambivalent consequences of social media’s transformation, and proposes specific interventions to head off the possibility that these services merely recreate the harmful patterns of Web 2.0.

Yoel Roth is a trust and safety practitioner and researcher. Currently, he is a Knight Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, a Technology Policy Fellow at UC Berkeley, and a Non-Resident Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research, teaching, and writing focus on trustworthy governance approaches for social media, AI, and other emerging technologies. Previously, he was the Head of Trust & Safety at Twitter. For more than 7 years, he helped build and lead the teams responsible for Twitter’s content moderation, integrity, and election security efforts. Before joining Twitter, Yoel received his PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His research examined the technical, policy, business, and cultural dynamics of social networking and online dating at the dawn of the “App Store” age.


About the HCDE Distinguished Lecture Series

The Judith Ramey and Stephanie Rosenbaum Distinguished Lecture Series in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering brings leading experts in the fields of human-centered design and sociotechnical systems to the University of Washington to spark new ideas and innovative conversations. These events are free and are open to the public, as well as University of Washington faculty, students, and staff. Thank you to donors Judy Ramey and Stephanie Rosenbaum for making these events possible. 

Previous Distinguished Lectures

Lucy Suchman

2022 Distinguished Lecturer

Helen Nissenbaum

2021 Distinguished Lecturer

Kjeld Schmidt

2020 Distinguished Lecturer