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Facebook Fourth Estate? Two Questions Lawyers Should Answer

In the wake of recent reporting of Facebook’s alleged liberal curation of its trending newsfeed and Sen. John Thune’s subsequent letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg seeking answers about these allegations and demanding a meeting, constitutional scholars, press advocates, and civil libertarians have mobilized the First Amendment in the company’s defense. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Sophia Cope argued that the letter constitutes “an improper intrusion into editorial freedom,” and Stanford Law lecturer Thomas Rubin wrote in Slate that “we should be concerned about this federal intrusion into an independent organization’s editorial process.”

Facebook, Congress and the First Amendment

The Facebook Trending Topics controversy has been analyzed from many angles, but there's been virtually no attention paid to the single most troubling aspect of the story: a Senate inquiry into Facebook's editorial decision-making process. My Slate column on the issue is here.

“Tool Without a Handle: “Tools for Terror, Tools for Peace,” part II

This blog continues the analysis of how to respond to terrorist activity (including recruitment and planning of attacks) using network information technology, in particular social media. As noted earlier, I think promising avenues to investigate include three areas:
1) Countering misinformation
2) Active recruitment to alternative missions
3) Areas beyond communication - e.g., algorithmic adjustments by social media platforms

While information technologies, and the business platforms that deploy them have a central role, the core of the best responses to violent extremism may turn out not to be tools, but people.

Reviewing The Trade Secret Short Film "The Company Man: Protecting America's Secrets" (FBI 2015)

The FBI produced a short film in July 2015 about an Chinese-backed attempted trade secret theft prosecution that actually occurred. Somehow I missed it; perhaps I was focusing on opposing the just-signed Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), which was merely fledgling legislation a year ago. Having been referred to this film today, I'd planned to watch it under a doctor's supervision (for fear of blood pressure issues) this weekend. Instead, it beckoned me like the latest episode of Veep, so I watched it this afternoon. I was not disappointed.

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