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McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

Digital Media Lecture: 'Unmasking White Data: A Digital Forensics of White Supremacy'

Monday, February 6, 2023 | 4:00 PM

Danforth University Center, 248
6475 Forsyth, St. Louis, Missouri 63130

In conjunction with it search for an assistant professor in digital media, Film & Media Studies would like to invite you to a series of lectures on topics such as computational creativity and artificial intelligence. The lectures are open to the public, but seating will be limited so come early.

Brett Zehner
The Ohio State University

What role do digital media play in the production of white supremacy? For instance, on the screen side of computational culture, extremist ideology circulates through memes and discussion boards. However, I argue that we must also understand the backend of social media, where algorithmic identification accelerates the production of white supremacy. In this talk, I will detail Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook to weaponize psychological profiles in campaign strategy. I will then analyze 4chan's bump algorithm that automatically pins extreme content to the top of its discussion board. I use these two examples to illustrate the production of white racialized data. And I ultimately argue that the reduction of a user’s identity to data marks an important shift in both racialization and radicalization that have far-reaching consequences for social justice.

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