Future Tense

Who’s Afraid of Online Speech? A Future Tense Event.


Free speech has long been a cornerstone of American democracy, but the ubiquity and intimacy of online content is now challenging our society’s once-unshakable belief in the appeal of unfettered speech. In this age of hacks, trolls, fake news, and digital hate speech, lawmakers, citizens, and the tech companies that control our access to the Internet and social media are rethinking how much we should police online content for veracity and for its potential to do harm.

Does the triumph of social media platforms mean we should revisit the protections given to online speech at the turn of the Internet Age? What role should the government play in protecting consumers from disinformation and harassment? Should formidable gatekeepers like Facebook and Google now exercise the type of editorial judgment we expect from The New York Times and Washington Post?

Join Future Tense on Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Washington, D.C. as we assess current fears about online speech and the promise and peril of proposals to address to them. For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.


12:00-12:10 p.m.: Opening Remarks

April Glaser
Staff writer, Slate

12:10-12:50 p.m.: Regulating Political Speech in the Age of Digital Disinformation

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Chair, Senate Democratic Steering Committee
Ranking member, Rules Committee

Dan Gillmor
Director and co-founder, News Co/Lab at Arizona State University
Professor of practice, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University
Author, Mediactive and We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People


Cecilia Kang
National technology correspondent, the New York Times

12:50-1:30 p.m.: Does The Internet Require Us to Rethink Free Speech?

Rep. Ted W. Lieu, D-Calif.
Member, House Committees on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs

Jennifer Daskal
Associate professor of law, Washington College of Law at American University

Kate Klonick
Future Tense fellow, New America
Ph.D. candidate, Yale Law School
Resident fellow, Information Society Project at Yale Law School


Cecilia Kang
National technology correspondent, the New York Times

1:30-2:20PM: How Can Platforms Fix Online Speech?

Andrew McLaughlin
Co-founder and partner, Higher Ground Labs
Executive Director of the Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale
Future Tense fellow, New America

Caroline Sinders
Product analyst, Wikimedia Foundation

Whitney Phillips
Assistant professor of literary studies and writing, Mercer University
Author, This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Co-author, The Ambivalent Internet

Dipayan Ghosh
Public Interest Technology fellow, New America
Joan Shorenstein fellow, Harvard Kennedy School
Former technology & economic policy adviser, the White House
Former privacy & public policy adviser, Facebook


April Glaser
Staff writer, Slate

Follow the conversation online using #FTOnlineSpeech and following @FutureTenseNow.