In recent years, a deluge of falsehoods, conspiracy theories, foreign-government sponsored disinformation, and hate speech in the media—particularly social media—has put this proposition to the test. People on the right have accused major platforms of selectively censoring conservative views; liberals have decried the failure of the same outlets to rein in hate speech and lies, including about the outcome of the 2020 election. Lawmakers on both sides have called for reforming, or even abolishing, Section 230 liability protections for social media. What would be the consequences of such changes, and are there alternative solutions? Should Twitter and Facebook be able to “deplatform” national leaders, as they and others did with Donald Trump? Are there steps that can and should be taken to address content algorithms that steer users towards extremism? At this Forum, Co-Hosted by the Engelberg Center, Dean Trevor Morrison and a panel of experts will address the issues that lie at the intersection of media, democracy, and speech.
April 15, 2021
NYU Law Forum—Could the Internet Break Democracy?
Could free speech, long considered a defining element of liberal democracy, also bring about its undoing?