June 3, 2021
Named in honor of her wonderful essay in The Atlantic, “The Supply of Disinformation Will Soon Be Infinite,” this episode is a wide-ranging discussion with Renée DiResta, the technical research manager of Stanford Internet Observatory. Corbin and Berin pick Renée’s brain about the latest trends in misinformation, social media’s role in the “Stop the Steal” movement, the rise of online influencers, how to increase information literacy, and more.
Other pieces of Renée’s mentioned or discussed in the show include “Mediating Consent,” “How to Stop Misinformation Before It Gets Shared,” “The Misinformation Campaign Was Distinctly One-Sided,” and “The Anti-Vaccine Influencers Who Are Merely Asking Questions.”
May 25, 2021
Thanks in part to outreach by its mayor, Francis Suarez, Miami is becoming a tech hotspot. Matt Haggman, an executive at the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, joins the show to discuss what’s drawing tech entrepreneurs to Miami, as well as what social, political, and environmental challenges could stand in the way of Miami becoming a new Silicon Valley.
May 10, 2021
Last week, Facebook’s new Oversight Board issued a much-discussed ruling on the platform’s suspension of Donald Trump. Two of the Board’s members, Ronaldo Lemos and John Samples, join Corbin and Berin for a wide-ranging discussion on the Trump decision, the Board, and content moderation.
April 22, 2021
“America is built on a tilt,” runs the apocryphal Mark Twain quote, “and everything loose slides to California.” So it might be said of net neutrality. The court fight over California’s new net neutrality law is only the latest episode in a long-running battle. TechFreedom’s James Dunstan and Corbin Barthold discuss what got us here (net neutrality ping pong at the FCC), where we are (a state trying to regulate an inherently interstate network), and where we need to go (a federal law that finally puts the debate to rest).
For more, see TechFreedom’s amicus brief in the California net neutrality case. (And if you’re wondering where Corbin got the concept of “kludgeocracy,” check out political scientist Steven Teles’s 2013 article, Kludgeocracy in America.)
April 14, 2021
Few public policies are more misunderstood than the Fairness Doctrine that briefly governed American broadcast media. If you think we need a “new Fairness Doctrine” for the Internet, chances are you’re not clear on what the old version was. Paul Matzko, editor for technology and innovation at Libertarianism.org, joins the show to discuss the history of the Fairness Doctrine, why it failed, and why making a new one would be a terrible idea. For more, see Paul’s book, The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement.
April 7, 2021
March 24, 2021
Florida is poised to enact a law limiting social media websites’ ability to ban or moderate users. TechFreedom's Berin Szóka and Corbin Barthold discuss whether the bill is constitutional, and whether it would really protect speech (spoiler alert: no and no). For more, see their essay on the bill in Lawfare, a TechFreedom paper on Section 230 and the First Amendment, and a previous podcast episode on efforts to apply the Fairness Doctrine to the Internet.
If you’ve already heard us explain why the First Amendment protects content moderation and just want to hear why the Florida law’s special protections for political candidates are also unconstitutional, skip forward to 23:55. And here’s the 1979 Supreme Court decision in Midwest Video II explaining how, in 1934, Congress rejected proposals to require broadcasters to “turn over their microphones to persons wishing to speak.”
March 8, 2021
What can social-media platforms do to address growing concerns about extremism on their sites? Research suggests that YouTube, for one, has made great strides in driving viewers of radical messages toward more mainstream content. As new forms of misinformation arise, YouTube has succeeded in quickly adjusting its algorithmic recommendations. Dr. Anna Zaitsev is a postdoctoral scholar at the UC Berkeley School of Information, and the co-author of the paper “Algorithmic extremism: Examining YouTube’s rabbit hole of radicalization.” She joins the show to discuss her research on YouTube’s recommendation system, and what it takes to spot, block, and demote ever-evolving extremist content.
February 24, 2021
Data plays an increasingly important role in our criminal justice system, yet there are serious inequalities in prosecutors’ and defendants’ rights of access to it. Rebecca Wexler, assistant professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and faculty co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, joins the show to discuss the growing role that data plays in criminal investigations and trials; the asymmetries in access to data, code, and more; and how we might reform the criminal justice system’s approach to science and technology.
February 16, 2021
The events of the last few years have shown the clear impact that movements beginning online can have in the real world. Social media platforms, as well as the legacy media and the government, have struggled to adapt to this development. Martin Gurri, former CIA analyst, Mercatus Center visiting research fellow, and author of The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium, joins the show to discuss the technologically driven fragmentation of narratives, what this means for society, and the broader challenges facing political and media elites and institutions. For more, check out The Revolt of the Public, see Martin’s work in Discourse Magazine, and read his recent article on the rise of post-journalism in City Journal.