The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
The 2016 election has put squarely on the public agenda a series of questions related to the norms of social media, everything from the proliferation of fake news on Facebook to the trolling culture of Twitter. These questions are not new. The culture of abuse online towards women, for example, is a matter about which one of us wrote a book.
"“They are incredibly serious about addressing abuse and harassment, threats, and nonconsensual pornography,” University of Maryland law professor Danielle Citron told BuzzFeed News. Citron, who sits on Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council and has no financial relationship with the company, said things are getting better on Twitter, at least from her vantage point. “Because I write about cyberstalking and harassment and threats, I get countless emails. But there are less about Twitter,” she said."
"Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University School of law, says the case is particularly important because it seeks to assess how the internet actually works in the real world. "When we’re thinking about the First Amendment, it’s important that we recognize the internet that we have in practice, rather than an idealized version of the internet that we might want to have or that Silicon Valley might sell us," he says."
"Danielle Citron, a Twitter trust and safety partner and a professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, emphasized that if Harvey’s team is sometimes slow to address abuse, it’s only because they care so much about getting each case right. “They mean it when they say they care about speech that terrorizes and silences,” Citron said. “They really do have their users’ speech issues in mind in a way that’s very holistic.”"
""The lawsuit is unlikely to be successful," says Neil Richards, a professor at Washington University Law School, who specializes in First Amendment theory. "But that doesn't mean there aren't really important questions about the level of power that these platforms have and the effect their policies have upon the state of free expression in our society, and by extension, how our democracy works.""
"Jennifer Granick, a lawyer with the ACLU’s technology division, said that abuses of power will become unavoidable if companies continue to face pressure to moderate their content.
“It's not a surprise that Twitter employees have this capability,” Granick said. “The public and Congress have been demanding that the platform companies create the ability to ban people from the platform or delete particular messages.”"
"“There’s always been employees who have misused the keys,” said ACLU surveillance and cybersecurity counsel Jennifer Granick. She pointed to the tension among some who would prefer that tech platforms censor users' content, whether that’s policing Russian-planted accounts and ads or kicking Trump off Twitter for what they perceive as hate speech. “They’re under extreme pressure from Congress,” she said."
""Banning any particular person, group or country is just bad policy - in other parts of the world, platforms will come to be viewed as a tool of U.S. or other foreign policy and it will give authoritarian regimes more excuses to ban speech," Albert Gidari, who as a lawyer has represented tech companies, said in an email. Gidari is now privacy director at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society."
"“For our democracy, I think we should all see what Trump is saying,” says council member Danielle Citron, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Law who studies online harassment. She has advised Twitter since 2009."
""It's to the credit of these companies that they have—without admitting it in court—taken the responsibility of the custodians of public debate," said Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who specializes in the First Amendment. "We have to decide if that's a question we want to have left to a publicly traded corporation.""
When a Texas grand jury this week indicted the man accused of causing journalist Kurt Eichenwald to have a seizure, experts said it was perhaps the first time that a type of electronic communication has been classified as “a deadly weapon” in a physical assault case.
Rebecca Tushnet, professor at Georgetown university law school, and Andrea Matwyshyn, Professor of Law at Northeastern University, discuss one lawsuit against Google, Facebook and Twitter, which was brought by the families of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Miami, and another suit against Google for unlawfully censoring its workers. They speak with June Grasso on Bloomberg Radio’s "Bloomberg Law."
Andrea Matwyshyn, a professor at Northeastern University Law School, and David Greene, Civil Liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, discuss Twitter’s Wednesday victory after a federal judge ruled that the social media platform cannot be held responsible for the Islamic State’s use of the network to spread propaganda.