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FRIAS Lecture Series - Molly Land

Prof. Molly Land
Law, University of Connecticut
Lecture Series recorded on June 1, 2021


Saving the Public Square: Democratic Principles for a Social Media Age

The problems that social media presents for democratic culture seem insurmountable. The varied impacts of the content shared on social media, combined with the dissemination of this content at scale, present unique and conflicting regulatory challenges. However, there are two dimensions of the current social media ecosystem that deserve particular attention—the commercialization of the infrastructure of public discourse, and the misuse of platforms by states and other political elites to suppress dissent and undermine civil society. These two elements of our digital ecosystem have the power to demolish whatever might be left of our commitment to “the public square.” This talk will explore these twin phenomenon of commercialization and digital authoritarianism and argue for a principled approach to state regulation that promotes greater democratic deliberation online.