12/6/2017: From Private Companies to President Trump: Defending Public Discourse in the Digital Age

Over the last decade, social media has become a key forum for public discourse, with citizens, journalists, public officials, and now even the president turning to social media to both find and disseminate information. Yet along with their unprecedented levels of immediacy and access, these new technologies have also given rise to new forms of censorship.

The main social media platforms — including Twitter and Facebook — are extremely influential in determining what news and information their audiences have access to, but operate in black boxes. With mounting evidence that these platforms have been used as tools for disseminating propaganda and misinformation, how should they be held accountable for their role in shaping the public discourse?

Moreover, despite the strictures of the First Amendment, President Trump continues to block critics on Twitter based solely on their criticism of him or his policies. His suppression of dissent is quickly converting an important public forum into an echo chamber.

To explore these issues, the Knight First Amendment Institute and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism invite you to join us for a panel discussion with Emily Bell, Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Gilad Lotan, Vice President and Head of Data Science at BuzzFeed, and Alex Abdo, senior staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute. The discussion will explore the role that platforms, politicians, and the public should play in ensuring the integrity of digital forums that are vital to our democracy.

Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Pulitzer Hall, Brown Institute
Columbia University


Alex Abdo, Senior Attorney, Knight First Amendment Institute
Emily Bell, Director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School
Gilad Lotan, Vice President and Head of Data Science, BuzzFeed


Email info@knightcolumbia.org; subject "RSVP to Defending Public Discourse"