Democracy: a Harvard Law School Lecture Series
Session 3: Social Media and Democracy
A Nov. 15 panel on Social Media and Democracy featuring Nate Persily (Stanford Law), Jamal Greene (Columbia Law), and Tristan Harris (Center for Humane Technology), moderated by Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig.
In the last few years, politicians, activists, academics, among many others, have become increasingly concerned about the role of social media in American democracy. The concerns are myriad. They include dis- and misinformation, increased polarization, the absence of a shared epistemic framework, and hate speech — amplified by business models that benefit from this pathologies. For lawyers and legal academics, an important inquiry is whether law can be at all useful in addressing the threats that social media pose to democracy. Are social media companies capable of effective self-regulation? What role should governments play in regulating social media companies? What role — given the constraints of the First Amendment — can governments play? Is this the new normal or can we expect a new and better equilibrium as we adjust to the promise and peril of social media’s ubiquitous and arguably necessary role in our politics?