How to discourage extremism and harmful activities on social media platforms | The TechTank Podcast

FILE PHOTO: A mob of supporters of then-U.S. President Donald Trump climb through a window they broke as they storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.

Twenty-five years ago, the Internet launched full of hope and optimism. The idea was that digital technologies would empower individuals and allow them to communicate with one another, build businesses, and enable online services in a variety of different areas.

In many respects, it has been remarkably successful. The Internet democratized the information ecosystem and generated many different uses. But at the same time, there are concerns about ways that social media platforms enable violent speech, extremism, and human abuses. Policymakers and regulators are grappling with how to encourage innovation and discourage activities that clearly are harmful.

To discuss these important questions, we are pleased to be joined by two distinguished experts: Ben Wittes, senior fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings and editor in chief of Lawfare, and Quinta Jurecic, Governance Studies fellow and senior editor at Lawfare. Both have written about content moderation on social media sites and Jurecic has just put out a new Brookings piece entitled “The Politics of Section 230 Reform: Learning from FOSTA’s Mistakes.”

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TechTank is a biweekly podcast from The Brookings Institution exploring the most consequential technology issues of our time. From artificial intelligence and racial bias in algorithms, to Big Tech, the future of work, and the digital divide, TechTank takes abstract ideas and makes them accessible. Moderators Dr. Nicol Turner Lee and Darrell West speak with leading technology experts and policymakers to share new data, ideas, and policy solutions to address the challenges of our new digital world.