Lisa Nelson

Nov. 11, 2021 | 6 p.m. MT | Hellems 201 | In person and livestreamed | Free and open to the public Watch the Recording Here

About the Lecture

Privately held social media platforms and internet search engines exercise an increasing degree of control over free speech, associational life and privacy in a Constitutional democracy.  Social media platforms and search engines are stepping up efforts to combat the perceived rise in disinformation, fake news and hate speech with content moderation and technological oversight in the form of algorithms, demonetization and the elimination of content and users. The anti-democratic tendencies coming from the internet users are held up as the justification for tamping down on content and users by private companies in order to make the internet into a better place. Yet, as anti-democratic methods are used to contain these anti-democratic tendencies, we should be conscious of the normative perspective we adopt, the ends we hope to achieve, and the interests and motivations behind these efforts, as well as remain contemplative of the long-term future of the internet and the freedom that we thought it could achieve. 

About the Speaker

Lisa Nelson is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, a fellow at the Philosophy of Science Center, and an affiliated faculty member at University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Nelson holds a PhD and JD from the University of Wisconsin‐Madison. A specialist in the field of science, technology, and society, she is the author of Social Media and Morality: Losing Our Self Control (Cambridge University Press) and is currently working on a manuscript for Oxford University Press on the issue of censorship on social media. The receipient of National Science Foundation and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur grants, Nelson was appointed to the Department of Homeland Security’s Data Privacy and Integrity Committee from 2011-13.