Acting like a bot as a defiance of platform power

This talk by Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández discusses ‘bot like’ behaviour on social media and conceptualises it as a defiance of platform power in delimiting the boundaries of ‘authenticity’.

This entrepreneurial capture of ‘botness’ is understudied and deserves attention. For this conceptualisation, Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández focuses on a platform with a clear monetization scheme, YouTube, and on patterns of ‘inauthentic’ behaviour in how content creators shared YouTube videos on Twitter during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic (February-May 2020).

The global coronavirus crisis forced social media platforms to take unprecedented (mostly automated) steps to moderate content and to introduce new policies on ‘appropriate’ conduct, which I argue may have an impact on emerging social media content creators’ attempts to boost visibility online.

About the speaker

Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández is a Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), member of the Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S), and ARC Discovery Early Career Research (DECRA) Fellow (2023-2026).

Her research focuses on social media cultures, platform governance, online harms, and algorithmic systems. For her DECRA project, she examines harmful humour’s impact on women’s wellbeing online, how it is poorly managed by social media platforms and has not been integrated into online safety regulation and policy.

Her research has been published in New Media & Society, Social Media + Society, Feminist Media Studies, Policy Internet Review and other international peer-reviewed journals. She is co-author of a forthcoming book on WhatsApp (Polity, with Amelia Johns and Emma Baulch).