debate launch event:
“Should WE CHANGE HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IS REGULATED?”
in partnership with:
ABOUT THE INITIATIVE
Fair debate is the heart of democracy. But social media algorithms that amplify outrage and engagement at any cost are eroding our society’s ability to engage in constructive arguments.
The Social Dilemma Debate Project serves to combat the polarization, hate and gridlock that defines today’s culture and politics with a new generation of strong debaters.
There are three components:
Public Debate. On Sept. 28th, Washington and Boston Urban Debate League students debated the question, “Should we change how social media is regulated?” The debate was judged by a panel of film subjects, legislators and issue experts and serve as a model for students to host debates in their own classrooms.
Classroom Debate Resource. Using The Social Dilemma as a launching point, our new classroom debate resource prompts students to study the foundational tenets of argumentation and then advocate a potential solution to the harms posed by social media’s business model.
Student Video Submission. As the final element of the Classroom Debate Resource, students can submit a 2-minute video summarizing their proposal to The Social Dilemma Debate Project. We’ll be featuring the top videos with our network of legislators, issue experts, and advocacy groups. [COMING SOON]
PUBLIC DEBATE GUEST JUDGES
(in alphabetical order)
Partnerships & Policy Director, Accountable Tech
Rishi Bharwani is the Director of Partnerships and Policy for Accountable Tech, an advocacy group fighting for structural reforms to rein in Big Tech’s societal harms and foster a healthier democracy. Before joining Accountable Tech, Rishi led tech policy for Senator Cory Booker in the United States Senate and served as the National Policy Advisor for Senator Booker’s 2020 presidential campaign. Rishi has also held positions with a number of leading progressive advocacy groups, including the Hub Project, Everytown for Gun Safety, and the Center for American Progress.
Global Editor in Chief, Newsweek
Nancy champions Newsweek’s belief that “vigorous, respectful and honest debate is in the public interest.” As part of this mission, she has shepherded new editorial initiatives such as Newsweek’s The Debate podcast. Prior to her current role, she served as Deputy Executive Producer on The Takeaway, a public-radio show, and an editor at msnbc.com; before that, she “grew up at Newsweek,” answering reader mail and rising to Special Projects Editor. Her teams have won reporting awards from the Overseas Press Club, Deadline Club, Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) and the American Society of Magazine Editors.
Washington D.C. Chief Deputy Attorney General
Jason Downs serves as Chief Deputy Attorney General for the District of Columbia, the chief legal office of the District and the primary prosecutorial agency for juvenile crimes in the District. Through the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection, Downs works on behalf of DC residents to stop deceptive and unethical business practices and has taken on tech giants—like Facebook and Amazon—over issues such as privacy, antitrust, and misinformation concerns. The office is also working on local legislation to combat discrimination and prevent algorithmic bias in automated decision-making impacting everything from getting loans, hiring for jobs, accessing health care, and many other services and supports residents use as part of their daily lives. Previously Downs spent nearly a decade at the Public Defender Service (PDS) for the District of Columbia where he served as the training director, making him one of the youngest lawyers in PDS history to serve in that capacity. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for LearnServe, an organization that equips District high school students with entrepreneurial skills, has volunteered as a youth mentor at Thurgood Marshall Public Charter High School, and taught basic legal concepts to Ballou High School students interested in pursuing a legal career.
ARIEL FOX JOHNSON
Senior Counsel, Global Policy at Common Sense Media
Ariel Fox Johnson advocates for smart practices, policies, and rules to help all kids thrive in today’s wired world. Her work focuses on enhancing family privacy rights, strengthening students’ educational privacy, and promoting robust consumer protections in the online world. She frequently advises policymakers, industry, and tech experts, and has helped develop laws on student privacy, consumer privacy, and the Internet of Things.
Former Head of Consumer Product, Twitter
Jeff Seibert is featured as a subject in The Social Dilemma and is the former Head of Consumer Product at Twitter. A self-taught programmer, Seibert released his first app at the age of thirteen, long before he led the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders seminar series at Stanford University. Driven by a desire to solve problems, build solutions that matter, and protect the privacy and security of end-users, Seibert has invested in over sixty start-ups. Following acquisitions of his past ventures Crashlytics and Fabric, his latest company, Digits, is now revolutionizing business finance.
EXPERIENCE THE FILM
The Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, offers us a glimpse into how a small number of designers in Silicon Valley are quietly reprogramming civilization.