The Lawfare Podcast: Podcasts Are the Laboratories of Misinformation

By Jen Patja Howell
Thursday, January 13, 2022, 5:01 AM

Valerie Wirtschafter and Chris Meserole, our friends at the Brookings Institution, recently published an analysis of how popular podcasters on the American right used their shows to spread the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. These are the same issues that led tech platforms to crack down on misinformation in the runup to the election—and yet, the question of whether podcast apps have a responsibility to moderate audio content on their platforms has largely flown under the radar. 

Why is that?  This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic talked through this puzzle with Valerie and Chris. They discussed their findings about podcasts and the “big lie,” why it’s so hard to detect misinformation in podcasting, and what we should expect when it comes to content moderation in podcasts going forward.