Events Calendar

Value Sensitive Design in the Twitter API

Thursday, April 8, 2021
4:30 pm
Zoom (by registration)

Presented by Carolyn Sullivan, MLIS Candidate, as part of the mediations Lecture Series. All are welcome to attend.

Contact the mediations Facebook team for the Zoom details.


The scraping of information from social media using tools such as the Twitter API has implications for user privacy.  Yet as the details of how big data research functions may be obscure to those without a background in computer science, policy makers may be hampered in providing ethical oversight. Value-sensitive design (VSD) is a framework advanced by Batya Friedman for interrogating how human values are integrated into technology throughout the design process.  This presentation uses VSD to consider how the ethical values of different stakeholder groups, including Twitter, developer communities, and general users have been incorporated or overlooked in the design of the Twitter API.  In the process, it challenges assumptions in VSD opposing ethics to aesthetics, acknowledging parallels between programming and the arts presented by other scholars (Gabriella Coleman, Vikram Chandra).  It additionally explores how ethical concerns are articulated and addressed by stakeholder groups through media such as public company policy, programming forums (GitHub, StackOverFlow, Discord groups), and Twitter itself.  


Carolyn Sullivan is currently finishing her MLIS degree, and previously completed an B.Sc. in Computer Science.  She hopes to apply her education through working as an academic librarian and continue researching data science, the culture of computer science communities, and technological ethics.

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
FIMS Communications

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