From Russian election interference, to scandals over privacy and invasive ad targeting, to presidential tweets: it’s all happening in online spaces governed by ...
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What Impact did Facebook Have on the 2020 Elections?
How much influence do social media platforms have on American politics and society? It’s a tough question for researchers to answer—not just because it’s so big, but also because platforms rarely if ever provide all the data that would be needed to address the problem. A new batch of papers released in the journals Science and Nature marks the latest attempt to tackle this question, with access to data provided by Facebook’s parent company Meta. The 2020 Facebook & Instagram Research Election Study, a partnership between Meta researchers and outside academics, studied the platforms’ impact on the 2020 election—and uncovered some nuanced findings, suggesting that these impacts might be less than you’d expect.Today on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the information ecosystem, Lawfare Senior Editors Alan Rozenshtein and Quinta Jurecic are joined by the project’s co-leaders, Talia Stroud of the University of Texas at Austin and Joshua A. Tucker of NYU. They discussed their findings, what it was like to work with Meta, and whether or not this is a model for independent academic research on platforms going forward.(If you’re interested in more on the project, you can find links to the papers and an overview of the findings here, and an FAQ, provided by Tucker and Stroud, here.) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Brian Fishman on Violent Extremism and Platform Liability
Earlier this year, Brian Fishman published a fantastic paper with Brookings thinking through how technology platforms grapple with terrorism and extremism, and how any reform to Section 230 must allow those platforms space to continue doing that work. That’s the short description, but the paper is really about so much more—about how the work of content moderation actually takes place, how contemporary analyses of the harms of social media fail to address the history of how platforms addressed Islamist terror, and how we should understand “the original sin of the internet.” For this episode of Arbiters of Truth, our occasional series on the information ecosystem, Lawfare Senior Editor Quinta Jurecic sat down to talk with Brian about his work. Brian is the cofounder of Cinder, a software platform for the kind of trust and safety work we describe here, and he was formerly a policy director at Meta, where he led the company’s work on dangerous individuals and organizations. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Cox and Wyden on Section 230 and Generative AI
Generative AI products have been tearing up the headlines recently. Among the many issues these products raise is whether or not their outputs are protected by Section 230, the foundational statute that shields websites from liability for third-party content.On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, Lawfare’s occasional series on the information ecosystem, Lawfare Senior Editor Quinta Jurecic and Matt Perault, Director of the Center on Technology and Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill, talked through this question with Senator Ron Wyden and Chris Cox, formerly a U.S. congressman and SEC chairman. Cox and Wyden drafted Section 230 together in 1996—and they’re skeptical that its protections apply to generative AI. Disclosure: Matt consults on tech policy issues, including with platforms that work on generative artificial intelligence products and have interests in the issues discussed. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
An Interview with Meta’s Chief Privacy Officers
In 2018, news broke that Facebook had allowed third-party developers—including the controversial data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica—to obtain large quantities of user data in ways that users probably didn’t anticipate. The fallout led to a controversy over whether Cambridge Analytica had in some way swung the 2016 election for Trump (spoiler: it almost certainly didn’t), but it also generated a $5 billion fine imposed on Facebook by the FTC for violating users’ privacy. Along with that record-breaking fine, the FTC also imposed a number of requirements on Facebook to improve its approach to privacy. It’s been four years since that settlement, and Facebook is now Meta. So how much has really changed within the company? For this episode of Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Lawfare Senior Editors Alan Rozenshtein and Quinta Jurecic interviewed Meta’s co-chief privacy officers, Erin Egan and Michel Protti, about the company’s approach to privacy and its response to the FTC’s settlement order.At one point in the conversation, Quinta mentions a class action settlement over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. You can read more about the settlement here. Information about Facebook’s legal arguments regarding user privacy interests is available here and here, and you can find more details in the judge’s ruling denying Facebook’s motion to dismiss.Note: Meta provides support for Lawfare’s Digital Social Contract paper series. This podcast episode is not part of that series, and Meta does not have any editorial role in Lawfare. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Eugene Volokh on AI Libel
If someone lies about you, you can usually sue them for defamation. But what if that someone is ChatGPT? Already in Australia, the mayor of a town outside Melbourne has threatened to sue OpenAI because ChatGPT falsely named him a guilty party in a bribery scandal. Could that happen in America? Does our libel law allow that? What does it even mean for a large language model to act with "malice"? Does the First Amendment put any limits on the ability to hold these models, and the companies that make them, accountable for false statements they make? And what's the best way to deal with this problem: private lawsuits or government regulation?On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, our series on the information ecosystem, Alan Rozenshtein, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota and Senior Editor at Lawfare, discussed these questions with First Amendment expert Eugene Volokh, Professor of Law at UCLA and the author of a draft paper entitled "Large Libel Models.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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.