Lab Platform Governance, Media and Technology (PGMT)

Session 1: Tarleton Gillespie, Studying What Platforms Don’t Necessarily Want to Talk About

Time and Date: May 9, 15:00 CEST, Online

Registration via this form

The qualitative study of platforms and their policies is hampered, obviously, by access. Tech companies are typically extremely cautious about who they speak to, what they speak about, and how frank they can be. In his input talk, Tarleton will talk through some of these challenges, and how he navigated them when writing the paper “Do Not Recommend: Reduction as a Form of Content Moderation” (Social Media & Society, August 2022). We will discuss more broadly the challenges of talking to platform companies about policies they should be transparent about, but in practice are and are not, in tricky ways.

As always in this series, there will be ample room and time for questions and discussion. This online series is about conversations in the research community, the challenges we are facing and the grappling decisions we need to take. So let’s talk!

Tarleton Gillespie is a Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New England, part of the Social Media Collective, Microsoft Research’s team of sociologists, anthropologists, and communication & media scholars studying the impact of sociotechnical systems on social and political life. Tarleton also retains an affiliated Associate Professor position with Cornell University, where he has been on the faculty for nearly two decades.


Gillespie, T. (2022). Do Not Recommend? Reduction as a Form of Content Moderation. Social Media + Society, 8(3), 20563051221117550.
Gillespie, T. (2023). The Fact of Content Moderation; Or, Let’s Not Solve the Platforms’ Problems for Them. Media and Communication, 11(2).

About the Series 

This talk is part of the series Behind the Scenes – Conversations on Empirical Platform Governance Research that invites scholars in this field to share their experiences and views, fostering  community exchange about how we can study platform governance in this challenging context. It is hosted by the Lab “Platform Governance, Media, and Technology” (PGMT) at the Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI), University of Bremen, and the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies, University of Groningen.


Please register via this form shortly with an email-address for the full series or this event only, so that we can share the meeting link with you.