Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Content Moderation’s Original ‘Decider’

By Jen Patja Howell
Thursday, December 9, 2021, 5:01 AM

We talk a lot about how content moderation involves a lot of hard decisions and trade-offs—but at the end of the day, someone has to make a decision about what stays on a platform and what comes down. This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with “The Decider”—Nicole Wong, who earned that tongue-in-cheek nickname during her time at Google in the 2000s. As the company’s deputy general counsel, Nicole was in charge of decisionmaking over what content Google should remove or keep up in response to complaints from users and governments alike. Since then, she moved on to roles as Twitter’s legal director of products and the deputy chief technology officer of the United States under the Obama administration. In that time, the role of social media platforms in shaping society has grown enormously, but how much have content moderation debates really changed? Quinta and Evelyn spoke with Nicole about her time as the Decider, what’s new and what’s stayed the same since the early days of content moderation, and how her thinking about the danger and promise of the internet has changed over the years.