You are cordially invited to attend the Harvard Law School Election Law Clinic's

DEMOCRACY: A Harvard Law School Lecture Series

Session 3: Social Media and Democracy

Monday, November 15, 2021
12:45 PM - 1:45 PM ET
Register Now


DEMOCRACY is a Harvard Law School Lecture Series co-hosted by Guy Uriel-Charles, Ruth Greenwood, Lawrence Lessig, and Nicholas Stephanopoulos. This six-part series of panel discussions will bring together scholars, lawmakers, activists, and the HLS community to discuss and debate the most pressing issues facing American democracy.


Guest Speakers:

Nate Persily
James B. McClatchy Professor of Law, Stanford Law
Jamal Greene
Dwight Professor of Law, Columbia Law

Tristan Harris
Co-Founder & President, Center for Humane Technology


Professor Lawrence Lessig
Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School

In the last few years, politicians, activists, academics, among many others, have become increasingly concerned about the role of social media in American democracy.  The concerns are myriad.  They include dis- and misinformation, increased polarization, the absence of a shared epistemic framework, and hate speech — amplified by business models that benefit from this pathologies. For lawyers and legal academics, an important inquiry is whether law can be at all useful in addressing the threats that social media pose to democracy.  Are social media companies capable of effective self-regulation?  What role should governments play in regulating social media companies? What role — given the constraints of the First Amendment — can governments play? Is this the new normal or can we expect a new and better equilibrium as we adjust to the promise and peril of social media’s ubiquitous and arguably necessary role in our politics?