Who’s Afraid of Online Speech?

The video from a fun Internet policy event at New America this week is now online. Yes, we had keynotes from Senator Amy Klobuchar, focusing on her legislative effort to advance transparency and accountability in online political ads, and Rep. Ted Lieu, outlining Constitutional and other interests as we examine the platforms’ responsibilities around online speech. Interesting questioning and dialogue ensued, featuring ceciliakang, Dan Gillmor, Jennifer Daskal, and Kate Klonick.

And then, starting at 1:11:05, came the epic panel that, obviously, literally everyone in Washington has been buzzing about ever since. (It’s the Trump era, so that now qualifies as a true statement).

Moderated by the brilliant and intrepid journalist april glaser, the conversation unfolded among caroline sinders (of the Wikimedia Foundation), Whitney Phillips (author of two excellent books on trolling and online culture), Dipayan Ghosh (privacy nerd, ex-Obama White House, ex-Facebook, now at New America, just published Digital Deceit, a great report with Ben Scott on how to fight the technologies behind precision propaganda), and me. We dug into the responsibilities of online platforms for their users’ speech; the wisdom and legitimacy of their content policies and practices; the relationships between product design and community culture; the need for better user-empowering features; roles and tactics for governments and communities to fight some categories of harmful online speech; the availability of existing criminal and common law tort hooks like impersonation to achieve better outcomes absent regulation by the administrative state; the value of regulating ends, not means, in technology markets; the availability of multiple alternative speech platforms; and more.

You won’t want to be the only person to miss this sizzling, sprawling smorgasbord of rich, creamy tech policy deliciousness.

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