Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Reconciling Social Media & Democracy - Upcoming Mini-Symposium, 10/7/21, 1-4 pm ET

Link to recording & transcript to follow

This [was] a must-see event for those concerned about the difficult challenge of reversing the harms social media are doing to democracy. Hosted by Tech Policy Press, it brings together all sides of the debate in the Journal of Democracy that I reviewed and expanded on for Tech Policy Press, along with some other expert voices. 

RSVP hereAgenda and readings here (and below).


Topic: Reconciling Social Media & Democracy

Description: While various solutions to problems at the intersection of social media and democracy are under consideration, from regulation to antitrust action, some experts are enthusiastic about the opportunity to create a new social media ecosystem that relies less on centrally managed platforms like Facebook and more on decentralized, interoperable services and components.

In this mini-symposium, we will explore some of these ideas and critique them.

Participants include:

  • Tracy Chou, founder and CEO of Block Party, software engineer, and diversity advocate
  • Joan Donovan, Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • Cory Doctorow, science fiction author, activist and journalist
  • Francis Fukuyama, Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Mosbacher Director of FSI's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, and Director of Stanford's Ford Dorsey Master's in International Policy
  • Dipayan Ghosh, Co-Director of the Digital Platforms & Democracy Project at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and faculty at Harvard Law School
  • Justin Hendrix, CEO and Editor, Tech Policy Press
  • Daphne Keller, Director of the Program on Platform Regulation at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center
  • Nathalie MarĂ©chal, Senior Policy and Partnerships Manager at Ranking Digital Rights
  • Michael Masnick, Founder, CEO and Editor, Techdirt
  • Richard Reisman, innovator, entrepreneur, consultant, and investor
  • Ramesh Srinivasan, Professor, UCLA Department of Information Studies and Director of UC Digital Cultures Lab

Time: Oct 7, 2021 01:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)


The core idea of the proposals to unbundle and decentralize control of what is recommended or filtered into our newsfeed is not just that the dominant platforms have done a horrible job, causing great harm to our democratic process -- but that this level of private power to control essential portions of our marketplace of ideas is incompatible with democracy, no matter how hard they try.

I am very pleased at having Justin Hendrix's support in helping to organize this event for Tech Policy Press, and will be honored to be moderating portions of it.


Background Readings 

Tech Policy Press reports on the Journal of Democracy debate:

The Journal of Democracy debate articles:

Other speaker’s articles:

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