Arbiters of Truth

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

Arbiters of Truth is a weekly podcast on disinformation and misinformation. Hosts Evelyn Douek, Quinta Jurecic, Kate Klonick and Alina Polyakova 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. You can find it in the Lawfare podcast feed on Thursdays.

Latest in Arbiters of Truth

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: A TikTok Tick Tock

TikTok has rapidly become one of the most popular apps for teenagers across the world for dancing, lip-syncing and sharing details about their lives. But if you cast your mind back to last year—specifically, August 2020—you may recall that the app’s future in the United States suddenly fell into doubt. The Trump administration began arguing that the app’s ownership by the Chinese company ByteDance raised problems of national security for the United States. ByteDance was ordered to divest from TikTok, and the app, along with the popular China-based chat app WeChat, faced U.S. sanctions.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: The Empire (Facebook) Strikes Back (at the Oversight Board’s Trump Decision)

If you’ve listened to this show, you've probably read a fair number of news stories—and maybe even listened to some podcast episodes—about the Facebook Oversight Board’s recent ruling on the platform’s decision to ban President Trump’s account. The board temporarily allowed Facebook to keep Trump off the platform, but criticized the slapdash way Facebook made that call and provided a long list of recommendations for Facebook to respond to.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: India v. Platforms

Tensions between major social media platforms and the Indian government have reached a new high. In recent months, India has demanded that Twitter remove a range of content critical of the government and has even sent police to Twitter’s offices in New Delhi in what Twitter has called “intimidation tactics”. The government recently instituted new rules that exert strong control over how companies operating in India govern their platforms—rules that have already prompted a legal challenge from Whatsapp in Indian court. 

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: The Arrival of International Human Rights Law in Content Moderation

Way back at the beginning of the Arbiters of Truth podcast series on our online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic invited David Kaye to talk about international human rights law (IHRL) and content moderation. David is a clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, and when he was first on the show, he was also the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression. It’s been a year and a half since then, and in the intervening time, David’s vision of IHRL as a guiding force for content moderation has become mainstream.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: The Christchurch Call, Two Years On

In March 2019, a shooter carried out two mass killings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, livestreaming the first shooting on Facebook. Two months later, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron convened the Christchurch Call—a commitment joined by both governments and technology companies “to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.”

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: The Disinformation Nextdoor

This week on Arbiters of Truth, the Lawfare Podcast's series on our online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with the journalist Will Oremus, who until recently was a senior writer at the technology publication OneZero and who is one of the most astute observers of online platforms and their relationship to the media. They dug into Will’s reporting on the social media platform Nextdoor.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: The Facebook Oversight Board Rules on Trump

The wait is over. Four months after Facebook indefinitely banned Donald Trump from its platform following the Capitol riot, the Facebook Oversight Board—the platform’s self-appointed quasi-court—has weighed in on whether or not it was permissible for Facebook to do so. And the answer is ... complicated. Mark Zuckerberg can still keep Trump off his platform for now, but the board says that Facebook must review its policies and make a final decision about the former president’s fate within six months.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Israel’s 'Cyber Unit' and Extra-legal Content Take-downs

Odds are, you probably haven’t heard of the Israeli government’s “Cyber Unit,” but it’s worth paying attention to whether or not you live in Israel and the Palestinian territories. It’s an entity that, among other things, reaches out to major online platforms like Facebook and Twitter with requests that the platforms remove content. It’s one of a number of such agencies around the globe, which are known as Internet Referral Units.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: The Challenges of Audio Content Moderation

This week on Arbiters of Truth, the Lawfare Podcast’s miniseries on our online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic talked to Sean Li, who until recently was the head of Trust and Safety at Discord. Discord is experiencing phenomenal growth and is an established player in a space that is the new hot thing: audio social media. And as the head of Trust and Safety, Sean was responsible for running the team that mitigates all the bad stuff that happens on a platform. 

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Twitter, Facial Recognition and the First Amendment

This week on Arbiters of Truth, the Lawfare Podcast’s miniseries on our online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jameel Jaffer and Ramya Krishnan of the Knight First Amendment Institute. 

What do facial recognition software and President Trump’s erstwhile Twitter habits have in common? They both implicate the First Amendment—and hint at how old doctrines struggle to adapt to new technologies. 

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