• Date of event:September 27, 2023
  • Time of event:4:30pm - 6:15pm
  • Location:
    STEPS 101

Casey Fiesler, scholar of tech ethics, internet law and policy, and online communities, will deliver the Fall 2023 Data and Computing Equity and Justice (DCEJ) lecture.

"The Internet is Good for You. The Internet is Bad for You."

This event was sponsored & supported by:
Center for Ethics; Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity; Office of the Vice Provost for Research; Department of Computer Science & Engineering and Lehigh ADVANCE Center


Hardly a week passes without a new ethical controversy centering on our lives online: privacy violations, trolling and harassment, misinformation, negative impacts on mental health. Discussions around these topics often come with calls for drastic technical or policy solutions, like age gating social media or even wholesale platform bans. However, though instigating incidents make splashy headlines, the perceived underlying problems are rarely so straightforward. Anonymity online allows harassment to flourish, but also provides access to important support spaces, especially for stigmatized topics. Social media recommendation algorithms can “know” us so well that it feels simultaneously invasive and validating. Platforms can also help us find community—or push our content to the people who would hate it most. Social media is bad for us, and social media is good for us; both of these things can be true at the same time, and both tend to be amplified in the case of marginalized groups. This talk takes a journey through the good and bad of people’s online experiences, from queer fan fiction writers to Black Twitter to professional content creators to health support communities, and poses the ethical question: How can we get less of the bad without sacrificing the good?


Casey Fiesler is an associate professor in Information Science (and Computer Science by courtesy) at University of Colorado Boulder. She researches and teaches in the areas of technology ethics, internet law and policy, and online communities. Also a public scholar, she is a frequent commentator and speaker on topics of technology ethics and policy, and though her work has been covered everywhere from The New York Times to Teen Vogue, she is most proud of her TikToks. She holds a PhD in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech and a JD from Vanderbilt Law School.

Learn more about Casey Fiesler at casey.prof