If Then

How Sen. Mark Warner Wants to Crack Down on Tech

The Senate Intel Committee’s top Democrat on how government might regulate tech and what his colleagues need to learn to catch up.

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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss the continuing saga that is Facebook’s effort to fix itself—ideally, without breaking everything else. On Friday, the company finally released more information about the huge hack that it announced last month, which affected nearly 30 million people. They’ll talk about what was stolen and why it matters.

Then, April and Will are joined by Sen. Mark Warner, from Virginia, the top democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, conducting its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. This summer he released a policy paper proposing possible regulations for U.S. social media and technology companies. Our hosts talk to him about what worries him most about the largely unregulated tech industry that can’t seem to keep our data private and stop muddying our elections. They also ask him what he thinks Congress can do to rein these companies in and why lawmakers haven’t been quick to act.

10:44 - Interview with Sen. Mark Warner

31:40 - Don’t Close My Tabs

Stories discussed on the show:

Slate: The Many Lives of Paul Allen

Slate: The Facebook Hack Could Haunt Its Victims for Years to Come

Slate: How to Tell Whether Your Account Was Hit by the Massive Facebook Hack

Slate: Facebook Purged a Ton of Political Spam—From Americans, Not Russians

A white paper from Sen. Mark Warner: Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Firms

The Atlantic: Mark Warner Is Coming for Tech’s Too-Powerful

Don’t Close My Tabs:

The New Yorker: The Growth of Sinclair’s Conservative Media Empire

New York magazine: Here Is a List of Every Animal Humans Currently Monitor Using Facial Recognition Technology

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 UniversityNew 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.