Social Support in Digital Patronage: OnlyFans Adult Content Creators as an Online Community
Coauthored with  Jirassaya Uttarapong, Ross Bonifacio & Donghee Yvette Wohn
CHI Extended Abstracts 2022

OnlyFans is a digital patronage platform where independent creators provide exclusive content to their audiences for a monthly subscription fee. However, the platform affords creators limited resources to build their audiences, which is crucial to their success on the platform. Drawing on 15 semi-structured interviews with OnlyFans adult content creators, this study finds that creators must navigate the platform’s limitations through community building with fellow creators. Specifically, they engaged in computer-mediated communication with fellow creators to solicit, and provide, forms of social support. Our study thus sheds light on the social strategies that workers in the gig economy employ to overcome platform constraints.

Digital labour scholars have produced insightful analyses of the unpaid, creative, affective labour performed by users on social media platforms. Meanwhile, an increasing number of scholars have been studying the hidden labour of content moderators: underpaid, contingent workers who enable the sanitised online spaces that users take for granted by removing disturbing content. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with third-party Facebook content moderators in the USA and Ireland, I argue that the case of content moderation affords us a new way of putting these approaches into conversation with one another. Specifically, I illustrate how content moderators perform affective labour-for themselves and for the platform-in ways that make possible the monetisation of users' cultural activities. In doing so, I draw attention to the human costs of maintaining user 'safety' and thus the profitability of large social media platforms.

" take seriously Nitzan Shoshan’s call for anthropologists to ‘develop concepts…that help us find the [extreme] as already in the [mainstream]’ (Shoshan cited in Bangstad et al. 2019: 103), I suggest that we turn our attention to social media sites as terrains of cultural negotiation and contestation. By studying the assumptions and practices of those who work to keep platforms ‘safe’, anthropologists can begin to explore the blurred spaces of liberalism and illiberalism, democracy and authoritarianism, mainstream and extreme."


In recent years, there has been much discussion about the role of social media platforms in the reproduction of exclusionary rhetoric leveled against social "others" in far-right contexts across the globe. While scholars have examined the ideologies underpinning exclusionary discourses, few have analyzed the discursive mechanisms through which such ideologies and "othered" social types become meaningful to ordinary citizens. In this article, we extend this conversation by analyzing digital discourses on Facebook and YouTube that pertain to Philippine "drug users" and racialized remarks against migrants in Italy through a chronotopic lens. We demonstrate that despite the historical, economic, and social differences between the two contexts, far-right ideologies are ordered through chronotopes of national crisis in both cases. Through these chronotopic worlds, despicable, "othered" social types such as "extracommunitari" in Italy and drug users in the Philippines acquire coherence.

Racialized Ideologies in Northern Italy and the Philippines
Coauthored with Sabina Perrino
International Journal of the Sociology of Language 2020

There has been much discussion of the proliferation of racialized narratives both offline and online and its role in the current electoral successes of far-right movements across the globe. We extend this conversation by analyzing narrative practices from two contexts where far-right parties and figures enjoy popular support: Italy and the Philippines. In both cases, we show how narratives that pivot on race constitute stancetaking practices that align with far-right agendas. In the Northern Italian case, racialized stances emerge in storytelling events, through which participants (co)construct extracomunitari, or ‘migrants from outside the European Union’, as “other” and “a danger” to the Italian nation. In the case of Filipino YouTube users, President Duterte’s supporters subvert racialized tropes through anti-imperial narratives in ways that attempt to delegitimize human rights criticisms of the drug war. We show how, in and through narrative practices, speech participants justify exclusionary and eliminationist politics in far-right contexts.

Book Review: Digital Slavery?
PoLar: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 2019

Review of Goodbye iSlave: A Manifesto for Digital Abolition

by Jack Linchuan Qiu
(Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2017)