Policing the conversation: evaluating different approaches to content moderation

1:40 – 2:40 PM

Content meant to manipulate, deceive, or radicalize users is increasingly commonplace in major online platforms. Many see this as destabilizing to democracy and public discourse; misinformation erodes trust in the media and democratic institutions, while extremist content promotes hatred and violence. Governments and platforms are developing new technologies and policies to help address these issues – but their benefits must be weighed against their costs, and potential for abuse. This session assesses the compatibility of public and private-led responses to misinformation and extremist content, with a free and open internet, public and democratic accountability, and core principles of human rights.

Governments and platforms are developing new technologies and policies to help address these issues – but their benefits must be weighed against their costs, and potential for abuse. This session assesses the compatibility of public and private-led responses to misinformation and extremist content, with a free and open internet, public and democratic accountability, and core principles of human rights.

Speakers:

Suzie Dunn, University of Ottawa
Vivek Venkatesh, Concordia University
Jane Lytvynenko, BuzzFeed News
Paula Martins, Freedom of Expression Exchange – IFEX
Dave Moscrop. University of Ottawa (moderator)

Suzie Dunn is PhD student and part time professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. She currently teaches contracts law at the University and provides lectures on law and technology.

Her research centers on the intersections of gender, equality, technology and the law, with a specific focus the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, deepfakes, and impersonation in digital spaces. She was awarded the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Scholarship for her PhD research.

Vivek Venkatesh is a filmmaker, musician, curator, and applied learning scientist working at the intersection of public pedagogy and critical digital literacy. He is the UNESCO co-Chair in Prevention of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism, Director of the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance, and Associate Professor of Inclusive Practices in Visual Arts the Department of Art Education at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University, Montréal. 

Jane Lytvynenko is a journalist with BuzzFeed News, where she covers online misinformation. Her work investigates the spread of fake news, digital deception, and the rise of hyperpartisanship online. She has written about illegal online drug sales, cryptocurrency scams, and has uncovered networks of fake accounts using social media to dupe users and profit from the online ecosystems. Previously, her work has appeared in Maclean’s, CBC News, and Canadaland, where she was a media reporter and editor.

Paula Martins is a researcher on freedom of expression and information topics. She is currently a regional editor with the Freedom of Expression Exchange – IFEX and a project lead at Media4Democracy. Paula worked for more than 10 years monitoring violence against journalists and human rights defenders in Brazil and other countries in Latin America. She advocated for key pieces of legislation such as the Brazilian Access to Information Law and the Internet Legal Framework (Marco Civil da Internet). She litigated on important cases concerning these and other issues, such as the right to protest and media regulation, at the national level, as well as at the OAS and UN. She was a regional director with NGO ARTICLE 19 for more than a decade, after serving as a researcher for Human Rights Watch, and an human rights officer at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Paula has a LLM from New York University, a MPP from the University of Oxford, and is now pursuing her doctorate studies at McGill University.   

David Moscrop is the author of ‘Too Dumb for Democracy? Why We Make Bad Political Decisions and How We Can Make Better Ones.’ He holds a PhD in political science from the University of British Columbia and is currently a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa. He’s also a columnist with the Washington Post, a regular writer with Maclean’s Magazine, and a political commentator for print, radio, and television. He lives in Ottawa.