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Tarleton Gillespie

Adjunct Associate Professor

Tarleton Gillespie is currently off campus, as a Principal Research at Microsoft Research, New England. He remains an affiliated associate professor in the Department of Communication and the Department of Information Science, with a graduate field appointment in Science & Technology Studies. He received his M.A. (1997) and his Ph.D. (2002) in Communication from the University of California at San Diego.

Research Focus

Prof. Gillespie's research focuses on the ongoing controversies surrounding digital media and commercial providers. His past work examined the move to technical solutions to copyright, their political and cultural implications, and how this move reveals underlying tensions between law, technology, and culture. His new research examines the implications of online media platforms as the new distributors of cultural and political discourse, and the mediating role played by algorithms for public knowledge and participation.

Awards and Honors

  • Residential Research Fellow (2012) European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS)
  • SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2011) SUNY
  • Outstanding Book Award, for Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (2009) Communication and Information Technology division of the American Sociological Association (CITASA)
  • Outstanding Book Award, for Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (2009) International Communication Association (ICA)
  • Faculty Innovation in Teaching Award (2008) Cornell University

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

Book Chapters

  • Gillespie, T. L. (2017). Regulation of and by platforms. p. 254-278 The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Jean Burgess, Thomas Poell, and Alice Marwick (ed.), SAGE, London.
  • Gillespie, T. L. (2016). #trendingistrending: When Algorithms Become Culture. Algorithmic Cultures: Essays on Meaning, Performance and New Technologies Robert Seyfert and Jonathan Roberge (ed.), Routledge, London.
  • Gillespie, T. L. (2014). The Relevance of Algorithms. Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo Boczkowski, and Kirsten Foot (ed.), MIT Press.


  • Gillespie, T. L. (2018). Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.
  • Gillespie, T. L., Boczkowski, P., & Foot, K. (2014). Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Gillespie, T. L. (2007). Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Presentations and Activities

  • Moderation is the Commodity. The Governance and Regulation of Information Platforms. February 2018. Georgetown University.
  • At Scale and under Pressure: How Social Media Moderate, Choreograph, and Censor Public Discourse. June 2017. Canadian Communication Association.
  • Exceptional Platforms. Platform Society. September 2016. Oxford Internet Institute. Oxford, UK.
  • What We Mean by ‘Algorithm'. Disciplines, Technologies, and Algorithms. May 2015. University of Chicago. Chicago, IL.
  • #trendingistrending: A Look at Algorithmic Measures of Public Discourse. International Conference on Algorithmic Cultures. June 2014. Universität Konstanz. Konstanz, Germany.
  • Resistance to+through Platforms. Internet Research 14.0. October 2013. Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR). Denver, CO.
  • Censorship by Algorithm. Governing Algorithms. May 2013. New York University. New York, NY.
  • Toward a Sociology of Algorithms. March 2012. Complex Systems Institute (IXXI), École normale supérieure de Lyon. Lyon, France.