Creator Governance: Platforms, Policy, Rights, and Regulation
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When: 05/29/2019
9:00 AM
Where: American University School of Communication
4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, District of Columbia  20016
United States
Contact: David Craig

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Attendees are responsible for their own transportation.

Organizers: Stuart Cunningham, Queensland U of Technology Patricia Aufderheide, American U Tarleton Gillespie, Microsoft Research David Craig, USC Annenberg* (primary contact) Colin Maclay, USC Annenberg Innovation Lab

Division/Interest Group Affiliation(s)Media Industry Studies Interest Group, Communication Law and Policy Division, and Popular Communication Division


Whether described as influencers, Youtubers, vloggers, or live streamers, creators are vanguard cultural producers and social media entrepreneurs. Creators also represent creative labor within emergent gig and artisanal economies. This conference convenes scholars, creators, activists, policy makers, and industry professionals to engage around concerns over and advocacy for more effective creator governance. As coined by Cunningham and Craig (2019), Social Media Entertainment (SME) describes an emerging industry disrupting the legacy media (Hollywood film, TV, publishing, and music) and advertising industries and most distinguished by creators.   Creators harness multiple platforms (YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, and more) to aggregate global fan communities. Creators are cultural producers, capable of fostering communities around more diverse forms of affinity, identity, and values than ever witnessed in mass media. Creators are also social media entrepreneurs operating complex business portfolios that include programmatic advertising, influencer marketing, e-commerce, and virtual gifts. More broadly, creators comprise central nodes within emerging “gig” and “creative economies”.  Estimates are that up to 10% of the U.S. workforce is generating revenue off of social media platforms as of 2016. Despite the cultural and economic power of creators, scant attention has been paid to concerns around creator governance.  Increasing demand for  platform governance and over-reaction by the platforms would appear to have crippled marginalized and civic-minded creators (See “Adpocalypse”).  Children’s media journalists and activists sometimes collapse distinctions between creators, advertisers, and naïve users.  FTC disclosure rules effectively place greater burdens on creators than on celebrities.  Global policy shifts like the EU’s Article 13 may prove disastrous for creators. While Hollywood guilds are starting to partner with creators, creators have also begun to self-organize. The conference will convene multiple stakeholders to discuss effective creator governance. How do creators reflect the future of work and creative labor in the emerging gig and artisanal economies?  What rights should they have or do they deserve?  How can creators be better protected and regulated by platforms and policy makers?  What activist and labor organizations are best aligned with creators and their concerns? How might scholars better research, intervene, and advocate on behalf of creators engaging in responsible cultural and economic practices?

The program for the event will be announced after March 1st based on the number and nature of attendees and submissions.

Link for additional information about the postconference: