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Facing Free Speech Challenges, Social Media Firms Say They Need More Time

If the 2016 election taught social media platforms anything about their responsibility to prevent the spread of malicious disinformation, the companies still aren’t sure what, exactly, to do about it.

At least that was the consensus at a panel discussion Thursday night at Stanford University, featuring high-profile policy and communications representatives from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and attended by about 100 people. The key question posed to each company representative, as well as audience members, was “Does digital misinformation pose a threat to democracy?”

While lawmakers in Washington argue over how to regulate technology platforms, Mr.  Persily said that few people expect YouTube, Facebook or Twitter to “actually behave like” the government. “Everybody is calling for these platforms to be regulated more, not less.”


Vijay Goel commented on this article.
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Martha Josephson
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“To suggest that large and powerful platforms, because of their size and power, are tantamount to government actors, would be a revolutionary First Amendment holding.”