Arbiters of Truth

Altered street sign reading "Danger due to Misinformation." (Flickr/3dpete, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Arbiters of Truth is a podcast on disinformation and misinformation. Each week, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic interview experts about the legal and policy aspects of the debates around political discourse, online speech and social media platforms playing out in the headlines. Alina Polyakova also provides the podcast with expertise on the foreign policy implications of these questions. You can find the show in the Lawfare podcast feed on Thursdays—and in its own separate podcast feed as well.

Latest in Arbiters of Truth

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: The Jan. 6 Committee Takes On the Big Lie

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection is midway through a blockbuster series of hearings exploring Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. Central to those efforts, of course, was the Big Lie—the false notion that Trump was cheated out of victory in 2020.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Rebroadcast: The Most Intense Online Disinformation Event in American History

If you’ve been watching the hearings convened by the House select committee on Jan. 6, you’ve seen a great deal about how the Trump campaign generated and spread falsehoods about supposed election fraud in 2020. As the committee has argued, those falsehoods were crucial in generating the political energy that culminated in the explosion of the January 6 insurrection. 

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Defamation, Disinformation, and the Depp-Heard Trial

If you loaded up the internet or turned on the television somewhere in the United States over the last two months, it’s been impossible to avoid news coverage of the defamation trial of actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard—both of whom sued each other over a dispute relating to allegations by Heard of domestic abuse by Depp. In early June, a Virginia jury found that both had defamed the other.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: The Supreme Court Blocks the Texas Social Media Law

On May 31, by a five-four vote, the Supreme Court blocked a Texas law from going into effect that would have sharply limited how social media companies could moderate their platforms and required companies to abide by various transparency requirements. We’ve covered the law on this show before—we recorded an episode right after the U.S.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Bringing in the Content Moderation Auditors

As transparency reporting about content moderation enforcement has become standard across the platform industry, there's been growing questions about the reliability and accuracy of the reports the platforms are producing. With all reporting being entirely voluntary and the content moderation industry in general being very opaque, it’s hard to know how much to trust the figures that companies report in their quarterly or biannual enforcement reports.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Social Media Platforms and the Buffalo Shooting

On May 14, a shooter attacked a supermarket in a historically Black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, killing ten people and wounding three. The streaming platform Twitch quickly disabled the livestream the shooter had published of the attack—but video of the violence, and copies of the white supremacist manifesto released by the attacker online, continue to circulate on the internet. 

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: The Platforms versus Texas in the Supreme Court

On May 12,  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed an aggressive new Texas law regulating social media to go into effect. The law, known as HB20, seeks to restrict large social media platforms from taking down content on the basis of viewpoint—effectively restricting companies from engaging in a great deal of the content moderation that they currently perform.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: When Governments Turn Off the Internet

Internet blackouts are on the rise. Since 2016, governments around the world have fully or partially shut down access to the internet almost 1000 times, according to a tally by the human rights organization Access Now. As the power of the internet grows, this tactic has only become more common as a means of political repression. Why is this and how, exactly, does a government go about turning off the internet?

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Pay Attention to Europe’s Digital Services Act

While the U.S. Congress has been doing hearing after hearing with tech executives that include a lot of yelling and not much progress, Europe has been quietly working away on some major tech regulations. Last month, it reached agreement on the content moderation piece of this package: the Digital Services Act. It's sweeping in scope and likely to have effects far beyond Europe.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: The Professionalization of Content Moderation

This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek spoke to Charlotte Willner, who has been working in content moderation longer than just about anyone. Charlotte is now the executive director of the Trust and Safety Professionals Association, an organization that brings together the professionals that write and enforce the rules for what’s fair game and what’s not on online platforms.

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