Day 1 Thursday 30 September

Please note: Program times are aligned to AEST Time Zone

Access a PDF version of the program here


Registration for the Public Program
E Block, Level 5 Foyer | QUT Kelvin Grove Campus | 20 mins


E Block, Level 5 Foyer | 45 mins
The public program commences – public attendees invited to lunch 


E Block, Room 550 | 30 mins

Welcome to Country – Uncle Cheg Egert, Elder in residence at QUT
Welcome from Patrik Wikström (DMRC, QUT),  Jean Burgess (QUT) and Axel Bruns (QUT)


Session 01: Overview of Critical Challenges and Opportunities in News and Media Around Automated Decision-Making
E Block, Room 550 | 45 mins

This session introduces the key themes addressed by the ADM+S News & Media Focus Area, outlines the program of sessions throughout the two days of the Symposium, and highlights the emerging challenges and opportunities for research, industry, policy-makers, and society as automated decision-making processes are deployed across news and media industries in Australia and beyond.




Session 02: Search Engines and Recommendation Systems
E Block, Room 550, | 60 mins

This session considers the social and ethical issues that arise with the use of search engine rankings and recommender systems. How do these systems impact on the human experience of culture and technology? How can recommender systems account for values like diversity and representation of minority voices and cultures? What does ‘responsible recommendation’ mean, and how can – and should – platforms take responsibility for how their recommender and ranking systems display, privilege, and amplify certain messages?




Afternoon Tea
E Block, Level 5 Foyer | 30 mins


Session 03: Search Personalisation and Polarisation
E Block Room 550, QUT Kelvin Grove Campus | 60 mins

This session introduces one of the flagship research initiatives in the News & Media Focus Area: the Australian Search Experience project. The project builds on the work of ADM+S partner organisation AlgorithmWatch, whose Executive Director Matthias Spielkamp will review the outcomes of AlgorithmWatch’s 2017 data donation project in Germany. The session then outlines the aims of the Australian Search Experience project’s extension of this work, and presents early results from an analysis of its first data donations.



Matthias Spielkamp - AlgorithmWatch


Session 04: News and Automation
E Block, Room 550, QUT Kelvin Grove Campus | 60 mins

Automated decision-making systems, algorithms, and artificial intelligence solutions are used increasingly widely in the news industry and related areas. Such tools are used in journalistic investigations, enabling data journalism and related practices; in content production, where automated newswriting produces stock market, sports, and weather reporting; and in audience engagement, as news outlets seek to maximise the visibility of their stories on search and social media platforms. This session discusses how these and other developments can assist with mundane journalistic tasks, but also introduce the potential for further staff reductions, content targeting, and journalistic error.



Rasmus Kleis Nielsen - Reuters Institute For The Study of Journalism

Wiebke Loosen - Hans-Bredow Institute

Edson Tandoc Jr. - Nanyang Technological University

David Tomchak - Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford


End of Day 1 symposium program


QUTex Events: Societies on the Brink: Understanding the Dynamics of Partisanship and Polarisation

This free event hosted at QUT, Kelvin Grove and online will feature a lively discussion with Professor Axel Bruns.

For more information and registration details go to the QUTex webpage

Day 2 Friday 1 October


Registration (for participants attending day 2 only)
E Block, Level 5 Foyer, QUT Kelvin Grove Campus | 20 mins


Session 05: Automated Content Curation and Moderation:
Problematic and ‘Borderline’ Content

E Block, Room 550, QUT Kelvin Grove Campus | 60 mins

Digital platforms use a combination of manual, automated, and semi-automated tools to curate and moderate the content their users see. While egregious violations of clearly stated rules designed to prevent social harms can be met with outright bans, it is more challenging to deal with problematic, questionable or ‘borderline’ content, which occupies the grey zone at the intersection of competing values and community perspectives. This panel will cover issues around the identification and moderation of problematic content – from bots and misinformation to humour; and will evaluate current and potential future institutional, corporate, and technical responses.



Robyn Caplan - Data and Society

Russell Skelton - RMIT ABC Fact Check


Morning Tea
E Block, Level 5 Foyer, QUT Kelvin Grove Campus | 15 mins


Session 06: Platform Governance: Race, Gender and Sexuality
E Block, Room 550, QUT Kelvin Grove Campus | 60 mins

For years, civil society, scholars and media have highlighted how digital platforms reinforce and reproduce harm. Recent accounts demonstrate how platforms overlook deeply insidious harm and fail to tackle ostensibly benign forms of abuse. At the same time, their community standards can be unfairly restrictive resulting in the removal, de-ranking, and de-monetization of consensual sexual content. This enhanced scrutiny disproportionately impacts marginalised people, who are often de-platformed and shadow banned. Moreover, platforms’ efforts to racially classify people for the purposes of personalisation and targeted advertising demonstrates how platform practices can reinforce discriminatory stereotypes and power imbalances. This session discusses how users understand online harm and safety, and considers what kinds of legal, policy and platform governance practices are necessary to help foster safe and inclusive digital environments.


Emma Quilty - Monash University


Kath Albury - Swinburne University

Thao Phan - Monash University


Session 07: Digital Inclusion and Media Use in Remote First Nations Communities
E Block, Room 550, QUT Kelvin Grove Campus | 60 mins

In this session we will discuss how First Nations people are producing, distributing, and accessing relevant news and media services, and the crucial role of First Nations media throughout the COVID pandemic.  We will explore the impact of technological change and automation on the First Nations news and media sector and for First Nations audiences.

We will focus on the challenges in remote First Nations communities, where digital inclusion levels are among the lowest nationally, and introduce a new ADM+S research project that sets out to map digital inclusion and media in remote Indigenous communities over the next four years.


Dr Heron Loban - Griffith University/ Chair, ACCAN Indigenous Advisory Forum


Diat Alferink - Torres Strait Islander Media Association

Dennis Stokes – First Nations Media Australia CEO


Session 08: Facebook Advertising: The Australian Ad Observatory Project
E Block, Room 550, QUT Kelvin Grove Campus | 60 mins

In this session we will discuss platform transparency and preview the Facebook Ad Experience project, which relies on data donation to gain insight into Facebook ad targeting. We will demonstrate the research tool: a browser extension that volunteers can install to collect the ads they see when they use Facebook on a desktop or laptop computer. The tool provides users with a dashboard that allows the ads to be sorted by voluntarily provided demographic information so we can see which groups are receiving what type of ads. We anticipate using this tool during the next federal election to gain insight into how political ads are being targeted in Australia. We will also discuss the importance of projects like this in building public awareness into how platforms gather and use public data.


Mark Andrejevic - Monash University


Bronwyn Carlson - Macquarie University


E Block, Level 5 Foyer, QUT Kelvin Grove Campus | 45 mins


Public event concludes