danah boyd

danah boyd
Microsoft

Doctor of Philosophy

About

157
Publications
130,800
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Introduction
My research focuses on the intersection of technology and society, with an eye to how structural inequities shape and are shaped by technologies. I am currently conducting a multi-year ethnographic study of the US census to understand how data are made legitimate. My previous studies have focused on media manipulation, algorithmic bias, privacy practices, social media, and teen culture.

Publications

Publications (157)
Preprint
Full-text available
When the U.S. Census Bureau announced its intention to modernize its disclosure avoidance procedures for the 2020 Census, it sparked a controversy that is still underway. The move to differential privacy introduced technical and procedural uncertainties, leaving stakeholders unable to evaluate the quality of the data. More importantly, this transfo...
Chapter
The use of big data research methods has grown tremendously in both academia and industry. One of the most fundamental rules of responsible big data research is the steadfast recognition that most data represent or impact people. For some projects, sharing data is an expectation of the human participants involved and thus a key part of ethical rese...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we interrogate three technical moments in the history of the US Census to argue that the legitimacy of data infrastructure is not a function of data quality, accuracy, or usability. Rather, legitimacy depends on a range of social, political, and historical factors.
Article
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Full text capture available here: https://twitter.com/angelaxiaowu/status/1334906322345725953?s=20
Article
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This paper is based upon the closing keynote presentation that was given by danah boyd at the inaugural NISO Plus conference held from February 23–25, 2020 in Baltimore, MD (USA). It focuses on how data are used, and how they can be manipulated to meet specific objectives – both good and bad. The paper reinforces the importance of understanding the...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Data voids are a security vulnerability that must be systematically, intentionally, and thoughtfully managed. Data voids are often difficult to detect. Most can be harmless until something happens that causes lots of people to search for the same term, such as a breaking news event, or a reporter using an unfamiliar phrase. In some cases, manipulat...
Article
In a media ecosystem besieged with misinformation and polarizing rhetoric, what the news media chooses not to cover can be as significant as what they do cover. In this article, we examine the historical production of silence in journalism to better understand the role amplification plays in the editorial and content moderation practices of current...
Preprint
Full-text available
The study of influence maximization in social networks has largely ignored disparate effects these algorithms might have on the individuals contained in the social network. Individuals may place a high value on receiving information, e.g. job openings or advertisements for loans. While well-connected individuals at the center of the network are lik...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A key goal of the fair-ML community is to develop machine-learning based systems that, once introduced into a social context, can achieve social and legal outcomes such as fairness, justice, and due process. Bedrock concepts in computer science---such as abstraction and modular design---are used to define notions of fairness and discrimination, to...
Preprint
Full-text available
In a media ecosystem besieged with misinformation and polarizing rhetoric, what the news media chooses not to cover can be as significant as what they do cover. In this article, we examine the historical production of silence in journalism to better understand the role amplification plays in the editorial and content moderation practices of current...
Article
Full-text available
Ethics is arguably the hottest product in Silicon Valley’s1 hype cycle today, even as headlines decrying a lack of ethics in technology companies accumulate. After years of largely fruitless outside pres- sure to consider the consequences of digital technology products, the very recent past has seen a spike in the assignment of corporate resources...
Article
Full-text available
Algorithms and data-driven technologies are increasingly being embraced by a variety of different sectors and institutions. This paper examines how algorithms and data-driven technologies, enacted by an organization like Facebook, can induce similarity across an industry. Using theories from organizational sociology and neoinstitutionalism, this pa...
Article
Full-text available
“Respectability politics” describes a self-presentation strategy historically adopted by African-American women to reject White stereotypes by promoting morality while de-emphasizing sexuality. While civil rights activists and feminists criticize respectability politics as reactionary, subordinated groups frequently use these tactics to gain upward...
Chapter
Full-text available
“Respectability politics” describes a self-presentation strategy historically adopted by African-American women to reject White stereotypes by promoting morality while de-emphasizing sexuality. While civil rights activists and feminists criticize respectability politics as reactionary, subordinated groups frequently use these tactics to gain upward...
Article
Seeking more common ground between data scientists and their critics.
Article
“Big Data” and “artificial intelligence” have captured the public imagination and are profoundly shaping social, economic, and political spheres. Through an interrogation of the histories, perceptions, and practices that shape these technologies, we problematize the myths that animate the supposed “magic” of these systems. In the face of an increas...
Article
Full-text available
The use of big data research methods has grown tremendously over the past five years in both academia and industry. As the size and complexity of available datasets has grown, so too have the ethical questions raised by big data research. These questions become increasingly urgent as data and research agendas move well beyond those typical of the c...
Preprint
Full-text available
Data-oriented systems are inferring relationships between people based on genetic material, behavioral patterns (e.g., shared geography imputed by phone carriers), and performed associations (e.g., friends online or shared photographs). What responsibilities do entities who collect data that imputes connections have to those who are implicated by a...
Preprint
Just because data can be made more accessible to broader audiences does not mean that those people are equipped to interpret what they see. Limited topical knowledge, statistical skills, and contextual awareness can prompt people to read inferences into, be afraid of, and otherwise misinterpret the data they are given. As more data is made more ava...
Preprint
Full-text available
Social network sites like MySpace and Facebook serve as networked publics. As with unmediated publics like parks and malls, youth use networked publics to gather, socialize with their peers, and make sense of and help build the culture around them. This article examines American youth engagement in networked publics and considers how properties uni...
Preprint
The availability of data is not evenly distributed. Some organizations, agencies, and sectors are better equipped to gather, use, and analyze data than others. If data is transformative, what are the consequences of defense and security agencies having greater capacity to leverage data than, say, education or social services? Financial wherewithal,...
Preprint
Data has always played an important role in housing policies, practices, and financing. Housing advocates worry that new sources of data are being used to extend longstanding discriminatory practices, particularly as it affects those who have access to credit for home ownership as well as the ways in which the rental market is unfolding. Open data...
Preprint
From 3D printing to maker culture, there’s a rise of technical practices that resist large industrial and corporate modes of production, similar to what is occurring in artisanal food and agriculture. While DIY practices are not new, the widespread availability and cheap cost of such tools has the potential to disrupt certain aspects of manufacturi...
Preprint
Many education reformers see the merging of student data, predictive analytics, processing tools, and technology-based instruction as the key to the future of education and a means to further opportunity and equity in education. However, despite widespread discussion of the potential benefits and costs of using data in educational reform, it is dif...
Preprint
This primer provides a basic overview to some of the core concepts underpinning the “big data” phenomenon and the practice of data mining. The purpose of this primer is to enable those who are unfamiliar with the relevant practices and technical tools to at least have an appreciation for different aspects of what’s involved.
Preprint
Data has always played an important role in housing policies, practices, and financing. Housing advocates worry that new sources of data are being used to extend longstanding discriminatory practices, particularly as it affects those who have access to credit for home ownership as well as the ways in which the rental market is unfolding. Open data...
Preprint
Data plays a central role in both medicine and insurance, enabling advances and creating new challenges. Although legislative efforts have attempted to protect the privacy of people’s health data, many other kinds of data can reveal sensitive health information about an individual. People’s medical conditions or health habits can be inferred from m...
Preprint
In this paper, we explore the role that attribution plays in shaping user reactions to content reuse, or remixing, in a large user-generated content community. We present two studies using data from the Scratch online community – a social media platform where hundreds of thousands of young people share and remix animations and video games. First, w...
Preprint
Employees and prospective employees produce more data than ever - in the workplace, on social media, and beyond. Employers and the third party companies that assist them increasingly apply analytical tools to these various data streams to measure factors that influence employee performance, attrition rates, and workplace profitability. While some o...
Preprint
Employers often struggle to assess qualified applicants, particularly in contexts where they receive hundreds of applications for job openings. In an effort to increase efficiency and improve the process, many have begun employing new tools to sift through these applications, looking for signals that a candidate is “the best fit.” Some companies us...
Preprint
Full-text available
Accountability is fundamentally about checks and balances to power. In theory, both government and corporations are kept accountable through social, economic, and political mechanisms. Journalism and public advocates serve as an additional tool to hold powerful institutions and individuals accountable. But in a world of data and algorithms, account...
Preprint
Full-text available
Countless highly accurate predictions can be made from trace data, with varying degrees of personal or societal consequence (e.g., search engines predict hospital admission, gamingcompanies can predict compulsive gambling problems, government agencies predict criminal activity). Predicting human behavior can be both hugely beneficial and deeply pro...
Preprint
Throughout the 20th century, science fiction portrayed a robotic future in both utopian and dystopian ways. The reality of automated systems, intelligent systems, and “robots” in the workforce, however, is much more mundane, even if it is undoubtedly disruptive. The same set of technologies that empower employees to be more effective or bear less p...
Preprint
Full-text available
As data moves between actors and organizations, what emerges is a data supply chain. Unlike manufacturing supply chains, transferred data is often duplicated in the process,challenging the essence of ownership. What does ethical data labor look like? How are the various stakeholders held accountable for being good data guardians? What does clean da...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Senate Subcommittee, and Commissioners of the United States Federal Trade Commission: Thank you for focusing attention on the important issues of youth privacy and safety online. As researchers, we welcome the opportunity to provide input into these hearings regarding the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)...
Preprint
As social network sites like MySpace and Facebook emerged, American teenagers began adopting them as spaces to mark identity and socialize with peers. Teens leveraged these sites for a wide array of everyday social practices—gossiping, flirting, joking around, sharing information, and simply hanging out. While social network sites were predominantl...
Preprint
Internet-enabled technologies allow people to connect in unprecedented ways. Although everyday social practices are widespread and well known, these same tools are reconfiguring key aspects of work. Crowdsourcing and distributed labor technologies increasingly allow companies to outsource everything from mundane tasks (e.g., Amazon Mechanical Turk)...
Preprint
Full-text available
When it comes to youth and technology, issues of concern about the future – rather than issues related to opportunities – often dominate the public discourse. This is understandable. First, parents and grandparents are often baffled by, and sometimes concerned about, the habits of their children and the generations that follow – and this shift in b...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the wake of the police shooting of Michael Brown in August 2014, as well as the subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri and around the country, there has been a call to mandate the use of body-worn cameras to promote accountability and transparency in police- civilian interactions. Body-worn cameras have received positive appraisal from the NA...
Preprint
Full-text available
The era of Big Data has begun. Computer scientists, physicists, economists, mathematicians, political scientists, bio-informaticists, sociologists, and many others are clamoring for access to the massive quantities of information produced by and about people, things, and their interactions. Diverse groups argue about the potential benefits and cost...
Preprint
Full-text available
In order to increase efficiency, measure productivity, decrease risk, and generally maximize profits, many private enterprises monitor their employees. While “workplace surveillance,” a term used interchangeably with “employee monitoring” (Ball, 2010, p. 88) is an age-old practice, its contemporary methods in the United States have their roots in t...
Preprint
Full-text available
In order to empower youth to create a kinder and braver world, we must begin by making sure that youth are safe. Youth are not safe when they are being bullied, harassed, or threatened. Thus, one of the first things that we must do to help youth be safe is combat the culture of meanness and cruelty that is at the root of bullying, peer violence, an...
Preprint
Discrimination and racial disparities persist at every stage of the U.S. criminal justice system,from policing to trials to sentencing. The United States incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than any of its peer countries, with 2.2 million people behind bars. The criminal justice system disproportionately harms communities of color: w...
Article
Full-text available
National, epidemiological data that provide lifetime rates of psychological, physical, and sexual adolescent data abuse (ADA) perpetration and victimization within the same sample of youth are lacking. To address this gap, data from 1058 randomly selected U.S. youth, 14-21 years old, surveyed online in 2011 and/or 2012, were weighted to be national...
Chapter
Social media enables people to share aspects of their lives in unprecedented ways, increasing the visibility of their daily activities. Yet, just because a piece of content can be accessed does not mean that it is or that viewers are interpreting it in the context in which it was intended. All too often, people see what they want to see, look to as...
Article
Full-text available
Even prior to the widespread adoption of police-worn body cameras, video has played a role in illuminating evidence of policing misconduct and fatal shootings, including bystanders’ cell phone cameras, dashboard-mounted cameras, and CCTV surveillance. But among these recording devices, it is body-worn cameras that have garnered national attention a...
Article
Published in 2014, the Facebook “emotional contagion” study prompted widespread discussions about the ethics of manipulating social media content. By and large, researchers focused on the lack of corporate institutional review boards and informed consent procedures, missing the crux of what upset people about both the study and Facebook’s underlyin...
Article
The author reflects on the evolution of her blogging practice. After becoming a blogger “kinda by accident,” increasing involvement in the blogging community led to a decision to live certain parts of her life in public, in a networked age where visibility can be both humanizing and de-humanizing. Studying teenagers and their relationship to social...
Article
To examine whether clan membership mediates observed associations between violent game content and externalizing behaviors among youth who play massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs). Responses from 486 11- to 18-year-olds who: live in the United States, read English, have been online at least once in the past 6 months, and have played MMOGs in...
Article
Full-text available
Police Body-Worn Cameras breaks down what’s known – and not known – about the promises, perils, and potential best practices around police body-worn cameras. Both law enforcement and civil rights advocates are excited by the potential of body-worn cameras to improve community policing and safety, but there is no empirical research to conclusively s...
Article
While much attention is given to young people’s online privacy practices on sites like Facebook, current theories of privacy fail to account for the ways in which social media alter practices of information-sharing and visibility. Traditional models of privacy are individualistic, but the realities of privacy reflect the location of individuals in...
Article
Contemporary youth conflict often plays out through social media like Facebook and Twitter. ‘Drama’ is an emergent concept describing performative, interpersonal conflict that takes place in front of an active, engaged audience, often on social media. Using ethnographic data, this paper examines how American teenagers conceptualize the term drama;...
Article
Full-text available
Unionization emerged as a way of protecting labor rights when society shifted from an agricultural ecosystem to one shaped by manufacturing and industrial labor. New networked work complicates the organizing mechanisms that are inherent to unionization. How then do we protect laborers from abuse, poor work conditions, and discrimination?
Article
Full-text available
From 3D printing to maker culture, there’s a rise of technical practices that resist large industrial and corporate modes of production, similar to what is occurring in artisanal food and agriculture. While DIY practices are not new, the widespread availability and cheap cost of such tools has the potential to disrupt certain aspects of manufacturi...
Article
Full-text available
Within some public policy and scholarly accounts, human trafficking is increasingly understood as a technological problem that invites collaborative anti-trafficking solutions. A growing cohort of state, non-governmental, and corporate actors in the United States have come together around the shared contention that technology functions as both a fa...
Book
Full-text available
What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens' lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens' use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety...
Article
Full-text available
The availability of data is not evenly distributed. Some organizations, agencies, and sectors are better equipped to gather, use, and analyze data than others. If data is transformative, what are the consequences of defense and security agencies having greater capacity to leverage data than, say, education or social services? Financial wherewithal,...
Article
Full-text available
Data-oriented systems are inferring relationships between people based on genetic material, behavioral patterns (e.g., shared geography imputed by phone carriers), and performed associations (e.g., "friends" online or shared photographs). What responsibilities do entities who collect data that imputes connections have to those who are implicated by...
Article
Full-text available
Science fiction has long imagined a workforce reshaped by robots, but the increasingly common instantiation of intelligent systems in business is much more mundane. Beyond the utopian and dystopian hype of increased efficiencies and job displacement, how do we understand what disruptions intelligent systems will have on the workforce?
Article
Full-text available
Countless highly accurate predictions can be made from trace data, with varying degrees of personal or societal consequence (e.g., search engines predict hospital admission, gaming companies can predict compulsive gambling problems, government agencies predict criminal activity). Predicting human behavior can be both hugely beneficial and deeply pr...
Article
Full-text available
As data moves between actors and organizations, what emerges is a data supply chain. Unlike manufacturing supply chains, transferred data is often duplicated in the process, challenging the essence of ownership. What does ethical data labor look like? How are the various stakeholders held accountable for being good data guardians? What does clean d...
Article
This primer provides a basic overview to some of the core concepts underpinning the “big data” phenomenon and the practice of data mining. The purpose of this primer is to enable those who are unfamiliar with the relevant practices and technical tools to at least have an appreciation for different aspects of what’s involved.
Article
Data plays a central role in both medicine and insurance, enabling advances and creating new challenges. Although legislative efforts have attempted to protect the privacy of people’s health data, many other kinds of data can reveal sensitive health information about an individual. People’s medical conditions or health habits can be inferred from m...
Article
Full-text available
Just because data can be made more accessible to broader audiences does not mean that those people are equipped to interpret what they see. Limited topical knowledge, statistical skills, and contextual awareness can prompt people to read inferences into, be afraid of, and otherwise misinterpret the data they are given. As more data is made more ava...
Article
Employees and prospective employees produce more data than ever - in the workplace, on social media, and beyond. Employers and the third party companies that assist them increasingly apply analytical tools to these various data streams to measure factors that influence employee performance, attrition rates, and workplace profitability. While some o...
Article
Data has always played an important role in housing policies, practices, and financing. Housing advocates worry that new sources of data are being used to extend longstanding discriminatory practices, particularly as it affects those who have access to credit for home ownership as well as the ways in which the rental market is unfolding. Open data...
Article
Title VIII (the Fair Housing Act) of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was the first federal legislation to prohibit institutions from considering some protected class information, like religion, in underwriting consumer mortgages. This prohibition extended to include additional protected class categories, and to apply to other types of consumer credit...
Article
Full-text available
Employers often struggle to assess qualified applicants, particularly in contexts where they receive hundreds of applications for job openings. In an effort to increase efficiency and improve the process, many have begun employing new tools to sift through these applications, looking for signals that a candidate is “the best fit.” Some companies us...
Article
Full-text available
The widespread adoption of social media and other networked technologies by youth has prompted concerns about the safety issues they face when they go online, including the potential of being hurt by a stranger, being exposed to pornographic or violent content, and bullying or being bullied. These concerns often manifest as fears and anxieties in p...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Teen dating violence (TDV) is a serious form of youth violence that youth fairly commonly experience. Although youth extensively use computer-mediated communication (CMC), the epidemiology of CMC-based TDV is largely unknown. This study examined how perpetration of psychological TDV using CMC compares and relates to perpetration using long...
Article
In this essay, we offer field notes from our ongoing ethnographic research on sex trafficking in the United States. Recent efforts to regulate websites such as Craigslist and Backpage have illuminated activist concerns regarding the role of networked technologies in the trafficking of persons and images for the purposes of sexual exploitation. We f...
Article
Full-text available
When information practices are understood to be shaped by social context, privilege and marginalization alternately affect not only access to, but also use of information resources. In the context of information, privilege, and community, politics of marginalization drive stigmatized groups to develop collective norms for locating, sharing, and hid...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper we examine the information sharing practices of people living in cities amid armed conflict. We describe the volume and frequency of microblogging activity on Twitter from four cities afflicted by the Mexican Drug War, showing how citizens use social media to alert one another and to comment on the violence that plagues their communit...
Article
Full-text available
Power, context, and control in networked publics.
Article
To inform the scientific debate about bullying, including cyberbullying, measurement. Two split-form surveys were conducted online among 6-17-year-olds (n = 1,200 each) to inform recommendations for cyberbullying measurement. Measures that use the word "bully" result in prevalence rates similar to each other, irrespective of whether a definition is...
Article
Full-text available
Social media complicate the very nature of public life. In this article, we consider how technology reconfigures publicness, blurs 'audiences' and publics, and alters what it means to engage in public life. The nature of publicness online is shaped by the architecture and affordances of social media, but also by people's social contexts, identities...
Article
Full-text available
The era of Big Data has begun. Computer scientists, physicists, economists, mathematicians, political scientists, bio-informaticists, sociologists, and other scholars are clamoring for access to the massive quantities of information produced by and about people, things, and their interactions. Diverse groups argue about the potential benefits and c...
Article
Full-text available
Elközelgett a Big Data, az adatrengeteg kora. A számítástudósok, fizikusok, közgazdászok, matematikusok, politológusok, bioinformatikusok, szociológusok és más tudósok fennszóval követelik, hogy az embereket, dolgokat és ezek kapcsolatait leíró, folyvást termelődő hatalmas adatmennyiséggel dolgozhassanak. Fontos kérdések formálódnak meg. Hozzásegít...
Article
Full-text available
As a part of its collaboration with the Born This Way Foundation, the Berkman Center is publishing a series of papers that synthesize existing peer-reviewed research or equivalent scholarship and provide research-grounded insight to the variety of stakeholders working on issues related to youth empowerment and action towards creating a kinder, brav...
Article
Full-text available
The era of Big Data has begun. Computer scientists, physicists, economists, mathematicians, political scientists, bio-informaticists, sociologists, and other scholars are clamouring for access to the massive quantities of information produced by and about people, things, and their interactions. Significant questions emerge. Will large-scale search...
Article
Full-text available
Facebook, like many communication services and social media sites, uses its Terms of Service (ToS) to forbid children under the age of 13 from creating an account. Such prohibitions are not uncommon in response to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which seeks to empower parents by requiring commercial Web site operators to obtai...
Article
This paper examines how teens understand privacy in highly public networked environments like Facebook and Twitter. We describe both teens’ practices, their privacy strategies, and the structural conditions in which they are embedded, highlighting the ways in which privacy, as it plays out in everyday life, is related more to agency and the ability...