Social Media and Content Regulation

Pinar Yildirim, Management, The Wharton School

Abstract: A significant challenge that online social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter face today is acting as the custodians of the Internet while at the same time being the center of self-expression and user-generated content (Gillespie, 2018). We study three key questions that are at the heart of marketing and management for social media platforms. First, how do self-interested social media platforms moderate content given their revenue model? More specifically, does the revenue source (advertising vs. subscription) matter in their motivation and strategy to conduct content moderation? Second, does a platform with a given revenue model always prefer a better technology for content moderation, so that they have sufficient incentives to pursue the best technology on their own? Finally, how does a free market content moderation compare to the social optimum?