Angie Waller

book / reading like a computer

Reading Like a Computer organizes and graphically presents the contents from leaked slide decks that describe Facebook’s content moderation rules.

Reading Like a Computer: A Semantic Guide to Facebook’s Content Moderation Policies


8.5” x 11” — 16 pages


Unknown Unknowns︎︎︎

Reading Like a Computer organizes and visually interprets the contents from leaked slide decks that describe Facebook's content moderation rules. These slide decks were the only known source for Facebook's content moderation guidelines when they were leaked to the press. They cover a wide range of topics, from censoring pornography to defining hate speech. However, the training materials in these decks suffer from issues such as oversimplified bullet points, lack of organizational coherence between rules and examples, and internal inconsistencies.

The main focus of Reading Like a Computer is to highlight the syntactic and semantic discrepancies between what content moderators are expected to allow or block on the social networking platform. The title suggests that content moderators are trained to think like an algorithm, making binary decisions in response to complex and contextually layered communication.
This book serves not only as a guide to decoding these complex guidelines, but also as a warning about the dangers of culturally agnostic, ahistorical, and algorithmic thinking when applied as a guideline for a complex and global "community of friends."

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