Community managers for human rights

ACM was proud to host a panel of global experts in community management this August at RightsCon.

RightsCon is the leading summit for human rights in the digital age. Every year, it brings together business leaders, policy makers, general counsels, technologists, advocates, academics, government representatives, and journalists from around the world to tackle the most pressing issues at the intersection of human rights and technology. In 2020 it clocked up 7,828 participants from 158 countries!

Dr Vargas on the Australian Community Managers panel

Online community managers around the world sit on the front lines of digital publics and privates. Building on the work of offline community pioneers, their principles and practices are critical in building healthy online cultures and stewarding constructive engagement across a diverse range of platforms and tools.

They are uniquely positioned as trust brokers and cultural mediators - and their work often involves pushing back against harmful inequities, logics, and agendas.

In the ACM panel, community specialists from diverse contexts came together to share practical tips from the community management toolkit that the rights community can immediately deploy.

We explored how the work of community managers can help forge a better, safer and more inclusive internet for all.

Watch the panel below:

Facilitator - Venessa Paech, ACM Director

Panelists - Carrie Melissa Jones, Rebecca Newton, Shreyas Narayanan Kutty and Dr Lauren Vargas.

An outcome of the panel was the launch of a project mapping and assessing community platforms against human rights criteria, led by Venessa Paech and Carrie Melissa Jones. The goal is to produce a shareable resource for community professionals who wish to make ethical product and platform choices, and to educate those in the rights community and anyone with privacy sensitivities about alternative options to major social media networks.

If you'd like to contribute, please email venessa@australiancommunitymanagers.com.au.

Our thanks to Nikki Gladstone and the team at RightsCon for their generosity and hard work in pulling off this remarkable gathering.


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We acknowledge the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin nations, the Traditional Owners of the land on which ACM is convened and organised. We pay our respects to the local people and to their Elders: past, present and emerging. We have much to learn from first nations cultures.