AUTHENTIFICATION AT THE EDGE: #”GAMERGATE”-ING THE ASCENT OF THE VERIFIED INTERNET
Keywords:authenticity, digital labour, platformization, feminist media studies, journalism
AbstractWhile platforms may be hard to know, they are increasingly invested in knowing—and policing— users. From “verified accounts” to “two-factor authentication,” platform affordances have proffered metrics of “authenticity” as an antidote to the uncertainties of attention economies, which are ostensibly saturated by fake news, misinformation, and algorithmic radicalization (Haimson & Hoffman, 2016; Caplan, 2020). Yet the platformization of realness claims are often weaponized against the most marginalized, as evidenced by recent events like PornHub’s demonetisation of unverified accounts. Early hashtag harassment events like #GamerGate foreshadowed the gendered consequences of digital realness regimes. In the ascent of “verified account” castes and other digital authenticators, the traditional “black box” conceptualization of platforms rings increasingly untrue. Rather, we argue, the algorithmic reality for marginalized users better resembles Wile E. Coyote’s painted tunnels on the side of mountains: vortexes of selective porosity that invite some roadrunners and flatten others. Through a Critical Discourse Analysis of #GamerGate coverage from 2014 and 2015, we attend to how ideologies of “realness” reproduce along gendered and racialized lines. Our paper builds on recent work on how the ideation of “realness” embeds forms of communicative and audience-managing labour among networked creators (Abidin 2016; Banet-Weiser, 2012; Duffy, 2017). The ascent of “authentification-as-safety is historicized within the hashtag harassment event “GamerGate,” our case study and pivotal moment in the platform veracity ecosystem when influencers and journalists were exhorted to authenticate their lives or lose their livelihoods. Everyone on the internet knows you’re a dog. Now what?
How to Cite
Hewa, N., & Tran, C. H. (2021). AUTHENTIFICATION AT THE EDGE: #”GAMERGATE”-ING THE ASCENT OF THE VERIFIED INTERNET. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12184