Segments in this Video

Debate "Housekeeping" (06:00)


John Donvan introduces the panelists and explains the format for the debate on free speech in social media.

Opening Statements For: Corynne McSherry (06:30)

Legal director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, McSherry argues that platform or private censorship is broken. Social media uses rules against harassment and nudity to shut down discussions on activists. Counter-terrorism experts believe that censorship does not enhance security.

Opening Statements Against: Nathaniel Persily (06:30)

Professor at Stanford Law School and the director of the Stanford Project on Democracy and the Internet, Persily argues that the internet does not need more foreign interference, bots, hate speech, trolls, and pornography. It is naive, illegal, and hypocritical to apply the first amendment to social media platforms. Federal, university, and state hate speech laws are overbroad.

Opening Statements For: David French (06:38)

Senior Writer for the National Review and fellow at the National Review Institute, French argues that free speech facilitates inclusion and justice. Compare whether the United States is more inclusive than in the 1920s when the First Amendment did not apply to state and local governments and suppressed free speech. Individuals have the ability to curate and manage their own social media feed.

Opening Statements Against: Marietje Schaake (05:39)

Dutch politician who serves in the European Parliament, Schaake argues that the First Amendment will not save social media companies from themselves. Illegal collection of data, live streaming of gang rapes, and privacy violations still occur. Bots should not receive the same protection as individuals on social media; put people over profit.

Censorship (05:58)

Donvan summarizes opening statements. Persily argues social media platforms curate and deliver information to individuals. McSherry rebuts that decisions made by a few corporations in Silicon are affecting the future of online speech. The French government is embedding someone at Facebook to help make decisions as to what content should be removed.

Vision for Inclusion (03:40)

Schaake Social argues that media companies enjoy an exception of liability and claim that they are a neutral platform; privacy should be worth something. French rebuts that there are multiple situations of conduct that are not protected by the First Amendment such as targeted harassment.

First Amendment Stipulations (04:24)

Facebook dictates what views do not have a place on its platform. Persily argues that anonymity should be respected but also causes bots, elections issues, and hate speech. McSherry explains that platforms will not solve the fake news problem.

QA: So Much Information Available (03:59)

Schaake explains how algorithms need to be subject to oversight. McSherry advocates social media platforms investing in user tools to control their own experience.

QA: Social Media and the Democratic Process (08:06)

Experts argue whether democracy is enhanced by social media. French argues censorship generates violence and division. Persily rebuts that platforms are already censoring information.

QA: Purpose of Social Media Companies (01:44)

McSherry argues against trusting a privately funded company whose primary objective is to sell ads and collect data to make content decisions.

Concluding Statement For: McSherry (02:25)

McSherry argues that the Internet is an ongoing project to become freer and more open. Judges should draw the lines of what speech is ok and private corporations should respect their decisions.

Concluding Statement Against: Persily (02:33)

Persily argues that his opponents are misrepresenting the topic. Not all platforms want to provide free speech opportunities to all users; 10-15% of Twitter feeds are bots. If combatting bots, hate speech, and harassment, companies cannot respect the Constitutional right of anonymity.

Concluding Statement For: French (02:23)

Social media companies have demonstrated their untrustworthiness. Voting "yes" to the resolution is advocating content moderators making decisions on your words. Block or mute when offended.

Concluding Statement Against: Schaake (02:49)

Technology is not neutral. Social media companies have made billions of dollars targeting adds to individuals. People do not know enough to make informed decisions.

Time to Vote (05:56)

Donvan compliments panelists on their conduct and instructs the audience to vote. The panelists discuss what regulations should be imposed in election fraud.

Audience Vote Results (01:12)

Pre-Debate - For: 38% - Against: 27% - Undecided: 35% Post-Debate - For: 36% - Against: 59% - Undecided: 5%

Credits: Constitutional Free Speech Principles Can Save Social Media Companies from Themselves: A Debate (00:09)

Credits: Constitutional Free Speech Principles Can Save Social Media Companies from Themselves: A Debate

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Constitutional Free Speech Principles Can Save Social Media Companies from Themselves: A Debate

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Americans have long prided themselves on their commitment to free speech, a principle enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But in recent years, hate speech and phony content have proliferated online, offending and misinforming millions of Americans. Some have argued that the world’s largest social media companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, should restrict access to extremist material and ban fake news and false information. But others argue that this would amount to censorship, and private companies should not become the arbiter of acceptable and unacceptable articles and opinions. Should these companies adopt policies limiting content online? Or can free speech principles save social media companies from themselves?

Length: 77 minutes

Item#: BVL185237

ISBN: 978-1-64481-892-3

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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