Social Media and Democracy:  The State of the Field and Prospects for Reform


Social Media and Democracy book symposium

Please join the Cyber Policy Center for a discussion of Social Media and Democracy: The State of the Field and Prospects for Reform, a new book with chapters by scholars and faculty at the Cyber Policy Center. The book explores the emerging multi-disciplinary field of social media and democracy, by synthesizing what we know, identifying what we do not know and obstacles to future research, and charting a course for the future inquiry. Chapters by leading scholars cover major topics – from disinformation to hate speech to political advertising – and situate recent developments in the context of key policy questions. In addition, the book canvasses existing reform proposals in order to address widely perceived threats that social media poses to democracy. 

Please note that we will also have a YouTube livestream available for potential overflow or for anyone having issues connecting via Zoom:



AGENDA subject to change, with Q&A integrated throughout

  • 9 a.m.: Introduction with Nathaniel Persily, James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and the Faculty Co-Director of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center and Joshua A. Tucker, Professor of Politics, affiliated Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, and affiliated Professor of Data Science at New York University
  • 9:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
    • Misinformation, Disinformation, and Online Propaganda with Andrew M. Guess, Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University.
    • Online Hate Speech with Alexandra A. Siegel, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado Boulder
    • Bots and Computational Propaganda: Automation for Communication and Control with Samuel C. Woolley, Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin
    • Online Political Advertising in the United States with Travis N. Ridout, Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government and Public Policy in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at Washington State University and Co-Director of the Wesleyan Media Project
  • 10:30 a.m.: 10 min break
  • 10:40 a.m - 11:40 a.m.: 
    • Democratic Creative Destruction? The Effect of a Changing Media Landscape on Democracy with Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Professor of Political Communication at the University of Oxford
    • Misinformation and Its Correction with Adam J. Berinksy, Mitsui Professor of Political Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Director of the MIT Political Experiments Research Lab

    • Comparative Media Regulation in the United States and Europe with Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University and Andrew Grotto, William J. Perry International Security Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Director of the Program on Geopolitics, Technology, and Governance at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center

  • 11:40 a.m.: 10 min break
  • 11:50 a.m - 12:30 p.m.: 
    • Facts and Where to Find Them: Empirical Research on Internet Platforms and Content Moderation with Daphne Keller, Director of the Program on Platform Regulation at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center
    • Democratic Transparency in the Platform Society, with Robert Gorwa, doctoral student in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford
  • 12:30 p.m.Closing and final Q&A with Nathaniel Persily and Joshua A. Tucker