Arbiters of Truth

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

Arbiters of Truth is an occasional Lawfare podcast series on the online information ecosystem, featuring interviews with experts about the legal and policy aspects of the debates around political discourse, online speech and social media platforms playing out in the headlines. You can find the show in The Lawfare Podcast feed—and in its own separate podcast feed as well.

Latest in Arbiters of Truth


The Lawfare Podcast: Decentralized Social Media and the Great Twitter Exodus

It’s Election Day in the United States—so while you wait for the results to come in, why not listen to a podcast about the other biggest story obsessing the political commentariat right now? We’re talking, of course, about Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and the billionaire’s dramatic and erratic changes to the platform. In response to Musk’s takeover, a great number of Twitter users have made the leap to Mastodon, a decentralized platform that offers a very different vision of what social media could look like. 


The Lawfare Podcast: The Supreme Court Takes On 230

The Supreme Court has granted cert in two cases exploring the interactions between anti-terrorism laws and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. To discuss the cases, Lawfare editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes sat down on Arbiters of Truth, our occasional series on the online information ecosystem, with Lawfare senior editors and Rational Security co-hosts Quinta Jurecic, Alan Rozenshtein, and Scott R. Anderson.


The Lawfare Podcast: The Fifth Circuit is Wrong on the Internet

Our Arbiters of Truth series on the online information ecosystem has been taking a bit of a hiatus—but we’re back! On today’s episode, we’re discussing the recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in NetChoice v. Paxton, upholding a Texas law that binds large social media platforms to certain transparency requirements and significantly limits their ability to moderate content. The decision is truly a wild ride—so unhinged that it’s difficult to figure out where First Amendment law in this area might go next.


The Lawfare Podcast: When Lawyers Spread Disinformation

A few weeks ago on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information system, we brought you a conversation with two emergency room doctors about their efforts to push back against members of their profession spreading falsehoods about the coronavirus. Today, we’re going to take a look at another profession that’s been struggling to counter lies and falsehoods within its ranks: the law. Recently, lawyers involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election have faced professional discipline—like Rudy Giuliani, whose law license has been suspended temporarily in New York and D.C.


The Lawfare Podcast: The Corporate Law Behind Musk v. Twitter

You’ve likely heard that Elon Musk wanted to buy Twitter… and that he is now trying to get out of buying Twitter… and that at first he wanted to defeat the bots on Twitter… but now he’s apparently surprised that there are lots of bots on Twitter. It's a spectacle made for the headlines, but it's also, at its core, a regular old corporate law dispute.


The Lawfare Podcast: Online Speech and Section 230 After Dobbs

When the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, the impact of the decision on the internet may not have been front of mind for most people thinking through the implications. But in the weeks after the Court’s decision, it’s become clear that the post-Dobbs legal landscape around abortion implicates many questions around not only data and digital privacy, but also online speech.


The Lawfare Podcast: What We Talk About When We Talk About Algorithms

Algorithms! We hear a lot about them. They drive social media platforms and, according to popular understanding, are responsible for a great deal of what’s wrong about the internet today—and maybe the downfall of democracy itself. But … what exactly are algorithms? And, given they’re not going away, what should they be designed to do?


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.

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