130 episodes

From Russian election interference, to scandals over privacy and invasive ad targeting, to presidential tweets: it’s all happening in online spaces governed by private social media companies. These conflicts are only going to grow in importance. In this series, also available in the Lawfare Podcast feed, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic will be talking to experts and practitioners about the major challenges our new information ecosystem poses for elections and democracy in general, and the dangers of finding cures that are worse than the disease.
The podcast takes its name from a comment by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg right after the 2016 election, when Facebook was still reeling from accusations that it hadn’t done enough to clamp down on disinformation during the presidential campaign. Zuckerberg wrote that social media platforms “must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves.”
So if they don’t want to be the arbiters of truth ... who should be?

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Arbiters of Truth Lawfare & Goat Rodeo

    • Government
    • 4.9 • 16 Ratings

From Russian election interference, to scandals over privacy and invasive ad targeting, to presidential tweets: it’s all happening in online spaces governed by private social media companies. These conflicts are only going to grow in importance. In this series, also available in the Lawfare Podcast feed, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic will be talking to experts and practitioners about the major challenges our new information ecosystem poses for elections and democracy in general, and the dangers of finding cures that are worse than the disease.
The podcast takes its name from a comment by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg right after the 2016 election, when Facebook was still reeling from accusations that it hadn’t done enough to clamp down on disinformation during the presidential campaign. Zuckerberg wrote that social media platforms “must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves.”
So if they don’t want to be the arbiters of truth ... who should be?

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The Fifth Circuit is Wrong on the Internet

    The Fifth Circuit is Wrong on the Internet

    Our Arbiters of Truth series on the online information ecosystem has been taking a bit of a hiatus—but we’re back! On today’s episode, we’re discussing the recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in NetChoice v. Paxton, upholding a Texas law that binds large social media platforms to certain transparency requirements and significantly limits their ability to moderate content. The decision is truly a wild ride—so unhinged that it’s difficult to figure out where First Amendment law in this area might go next.
    To discuss, Lawfare senior editor Quinta Jurecic sat down with fellow Lawfare senior editor Alan Rozenshtein and Alex Abdo, the litigation director at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University—who’s come on the podcast before to discuss the case. They tried to make sense of the Fifth Circuit’s ruling and chart out alternative possibilities for what good-faith jurisprudence on social media regulation might look like.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 54 min
    When Lawyers Spread Disinformation

    When Lawyers Spread Disinformation

    A few weeks ago on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information system, we brought you a conversation with two emergency room doctors about their efforts to push back against members of their profession spreading falsehoods about the coronavirus. Today, we’re going to take a look at another profession that’s been struggling to counter lies and falsehoods within its ranks: the law. Recently, lawyers involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election have faced professional discipline—like Rudy Giuliani, whose law license has been suspended temporarily in New York and D.C. while a New York ethics investigation remains ongoing.
    Quinta Jurecic sat down with Paul Rosenzweig a contributing editor at Lawfare and a board member with the 65 Project, an organization that seeks to hold accountable lawyers who worked to help Trump hold onto power in 2020—often by spreading lies. He’s also spent many years working on issues related to legal ethics. So what avenues of discipline are available for lawyers who tell lies about elections? How does the legal discipline process work? And how effective can legal discipline be in reasserting the truth?

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 50 min
    The Corporate Law Behind Musk v. Twitter

    The Corporate Law Behind Musk v. Twitter

    You’ve likely heard that Elon Musk wanted to buy Twitter… and that he is now trying to get out of buying Twitter… and that at first he wanted to defeat the bots on Twitter… but now he’s apparently surprised that there are lots of bots on Twitter. It's a spectacle made for the headlines, but it's also, at its core, a regular old corporate law dispute. 
    This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek spoke with Adriana Robertson, the Donald N. Pritzker Professor of Business Law at the University of Chicago Law School, to talk about the legal issues behind the headlines. What is the Delaware Court of Chancery in which Musk and Twitter are going to face off? Will it care at all about the bots? And how do corporate lawyers think and talk about this differently from how it gets talked about in most of the public conversation about it?

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 58 min
    Online Speech and Section 230 After Dobbs

    Online Speech and Section 230 After Dobbs

    When the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, the impact of the decision on the internet may not have been front of mind for most people thinking through the implications. But in the weeks after the Court’s decision, it’s become clear that the post-Dobbs legal landscape around abortion implicates many questions around not only data and digital privacy, but also online speech. One piece of model state legislation, for example, would criminalize “hosting or maintaining a website, or providing internet service, that encourages or facilitates efforts to obtain an illegal abortion.” 
    This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Evan Greer, the director of the digital rights organization Fight for the Future. She recently wrote an article in Wired with Lia Holland arguing that “Section 230 is a Last Line of Defense for Abortion Speech Online.” They talked about what role Section 230’s protections have to play when it comes to liability for speech about abortion and what content moderation looks like in a post-Dobbs world. 

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 55 min
    When Doctors Spread Disinformation

    When Doctors Spread Disinformation

    Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve talked a lot on this show about how falsehoods about the coronavirus are spread and generated. For this episode, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with two emergency medicine physicians who have seen the practical effects of those falsehoods while treating patients over the last two years. Nick Sawyer and Taylor Nichols are two of the cofounders of the organization No License for Disinformation, a group that advocates for medical authorities to take disciplinary action against doctors spreading misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19. They argue that state medical boards, which grant physicians the licenses that authorize them to practice medicine, could play a more aggressive role in curbing falsehoods. 
    How many doctors have been disciplined, and why do Nick and Taylor believe that state medical boards have fallen down on the job? What are the possibilities for more aggressive action—and how does the First Amendment limit those possibilities? And how much good can the threat of discipline do in curbing medical misinformation, anyway?

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 57 min
    What We Talk About When We Talk About Algorithms

    What We Talk About When We Talk About Algorithms

    Algorithms! We hear a lot about them. They drive social media platforms and, according to popular understanding, are responsible for a great deal of what’s wrong about the internet today—and maybe the downfall of democracy itself. But … what exactly are algorithms? And, given they’re not going away, what should they be designed to do?
    Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jonathan Stray, a senior scientist at the Berkeley Center for Human-Compatible AI and someone who has thought a lot about what we mean when we say the word “algorithm”—and also when we discuss things like “engagement” and “amplification.” He helped them pin down a more precise understanding of what those terms mean and why that precision is so important in crafting good technology policy. They also talked about what role social media algorithms do and don’t play in stoking political polarization, and how they might be designed to decrease polarization instead.

    If you’re interested, you can read the Senate testimony by Dean Eckles on algorithms that Jonathan mentions during the show.We also mentioned this article by Daniel Kreiss on polarization.
    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 1 hr 3 min

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