Debate "Housekeeping" (05:16)
Moderator John Donvan frames the debate on whether social media promotes democracy.
Opening Statement For: Emily Parker (06:32)
Digital Diplomacy Adviser and Former State Department Official, Parker explains that social media is a tool that promotes democracy and cites China as an example. Alexi Navalni used social media to campaign effectively against Vladimir Putin. Thoughtful debate takes time, tends to not go viral, and can be boring if civil.
Opening Statement Against: Roger McNamee (06:16)
Investor and venture capitalist, McNamee advises that the debate is not about social media leading to democratic conversations but to a better form of governance. Facebook helps inflammatory campaigns; rampant manipulation of users is a feature on these platforms. Four key elements of democracy include free and fair elections, active participation by the people, protection of human rights, and a rule of law that applies equally to everyone.
Opening Statement For: Jeff Jarvis (05:52)
Director of Town Night Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at City University of New York, Jarvis explains that democracy is noisy and messy. Social media brings diversity to public conversation and has helped create Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movement. Users are motivated by economic, psychological, or political reasons.
Opening Statement Against: Franklin Foer (06:33)
Staff writer for "The Atlantic," Foer explains that social media platforms are behavior modification machines, designed to be addictive. These sites and apps give people information and news that confirms biases; "Wall Street Journal" users can select the "red" or "blue" feeds. Compromise is not possible if 52% of Americans will not engage an individual who they substantively disagree with.
Speaking Out in China (09:52)
Donvan summarizes opening statements. McNamee and Foer discuss how Social Credit will use the tools of Facebook to control the Chinese population. Palmer counters that there have been more protests against government control in recent years. Experts argue whether social media is a mechanism for social control.
Democracy in U.S. Politics (04:45)
Jarvis argues that his opponents are not giving the public credit for its intelligence and that the media has ruined democracy. Foer counters that social media enabled the election of President Trump and the rise of populism. McNamee explains that smartphones utilize the ten core techniques that prey on the human psyche.
Smartphone Addiction (03:45)
Parker explains that social media alone will not create a democratic form of government. Foer counters that the media painting a dystopian future and the lack of government security has led to the populist movement. McNamee explains that social media hinders deliberation over time.
Definition of Democracy (03:52)
Foer defines democracy as a society based on a commitment to a certain understanding of how politics function, society functions, and how rights and liberty are maintained. Parker counters that democracy sometimes yields outcomes that we do not like. McNamee describes how Facebook employees aided Trump's campaign.
Q/A: Community over Conversation (04:26)
Jarvis explains that the Spaceship Media Project brings together communities in conflict with journalists on Facebook. Foer agrees that media has gotten worse in the age of social media.
Q/A: Affecting Voter Participation (02:38)
McNamee explains that Facebook implemented voter suppression measures. Four million people voted for President Barack Obama in 2012 who did not vote in 2016. Jarvis describes how a grass roots campaign raised $15 million on Facebook to bail out immigrant families and give them legal representation.
Q/A: Dangerous or Benign Tool (05:43)
Parker explains that social media can be used for both good and bad purposes. McNamee describes how Google chooses the 20 stories that help their business model the most; the UN says that the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar was aided by Facebook.
Concluding Statement For: Parker (02:21)
Parker describes how she tried to create a platform for civil, thoughtful debate. Social media reflects users' desires for sensation, viral content with soundbites. The opposition portrays users as passive victims.
Concluding Statement Against: McNamee (02:15)
McNamee describes how social media undermines the four pillars of democracy. Social media utilizes pervasive surveillance and manipulation to hinder individuals participating as citizens.
Concluding Statement For: Jarvis (02:07)
Jarvis describes how Facebook is hiring 20,000 people to get rid of junk on its platform. There are many reasons for fear but they are not the fault of social media.
Concluding Statement Against: Foer (02:24)
There are 25 less democracies in the world since the advent of Facebook. Ronald Inglehart believes that democracy has not been in more precarious shape since the 1930s.
Time to Vote (04:47)
Donvan compliments panelists on their conduct and instructs the audience to vote. The debaters discuss what voters should consider when using social media.
Audience Vote Results (01:05)
Pre-Debate - For: 36% - Against: 46% - Undecided: 18%
Post-Debate - For: 34% - Against: 63% - Undecided: 3%
Credits: Social Media Is Good for Democracy: A Debate (00:09)
Credits: Social Media Is Good for Democracy: A Debate
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