If Then

How a Top Twitter Exec Tackles Trolls

Vijaya Gadde explains why harassers must go, but conspiracy theorists can stay.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Elisanth_/iStock; higyou/iStock.

Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus is joined by guest co-host Maya Kosoff from Vanity Fair. They discuss the latest congressional dog and pony show involving the big social media platforms. They’ll get into a conversation over whether Facebook should ban the prominent conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars. Meanwhile, there’s a new owner of the title “wealthiest person in modern history.” They’ll talk about who that is and what it says about our economy.


Later, Will is joined by Vijaya Gadde, a top-level executive at Twitter, in charge of their legal, public policy, and trust and safety teams. It’s her job to fight bots, trolls, and Russian agents, all while navigating the laws of more than 100 different countries in which the site operates. They’ll talk about how that uphill battle is going these days and find out how Twitter is thinking about the balance between free speech and user safety at the highest level.


Stories discussed on the show:

Vanity Fair: “A Reckoning? What Reckoning?”: Why Wall Street Still Loves Facebook

Vanity Fair: How Facebook’s Infowars Crisis Exposes Mark Zuckerberg’s Hypocrisy

Vanity Fair: Is Jeff Bezos’ Massive Wealth Becoming a Problem?


Slate: Facebook Won’t Make the Bed It Lies In

Slate: What the Latest Mueller Indictment Reveals About Guccifer 2.0, the “Lone Hacker” Who Was Really a Group of Russian Agents

Don’t Close My Tabs

Medium: Digital Exile: How I Got Banned for Life From Airbnb

BuzzFeed: Elon Musk Has Always Been at War With the Media

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.