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University of Michigan School of Information


Oliver Haimson receives National Science Foundation CAREER grant

Tuesday, 05/19/2020

UMSI assistant professor Oliver Haimson has received a prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation, the NSF CAREER award. Haimson's winning research proposal is titled "Toward Equitable Social Media Content Moderation for Marginalized Individuals and Communities." 

The project examines the causes and consequences of online platforms banning users and content that do not actually violate site policies, or fall into gray areas with respect to site policies and community norms. 

Such bans are especially problematic in marginalized online communities, as Haimson notes a relationship between content removal prevalence and systemic biases.

"I'm excited to get started on this research project,” says Haimson. “My research team will investigate the experiences of people with marginalized identities who, as a result of faulty content moderation, are sometimes excluded from online spaces. These spaces can be so important for building community and accessing support, and with this research we will work towards making content moderation processes more equitable." 

Combining interviews, virtual ethnographies, focus groups, participatory design, and computational methods, Haimson's research will culminate in design recommendations for a context-aware content moderation system that balances community needs, norms, and values with platform requirements that can be applied across social media sites. 

Haimson’s team will also build a practical digital literacy online resource to help educate people about content and account removals and how to regain site access. 

Oliver Haimson is also a faculty member at the University of Michigan Digital Studies Institute. 

- UMSI News Service