A new discussion is emerging as the initial optimism of a self-regulated global internet community gives way to concerns involving the power and vulnerability of tech platform businesses in their influence over civil society and safety. Increasingly it seems clear that the digital revolution, in which information, misinformation and disinformation co-travel worldwide at the speed of thought, needs to be thought of as requiring more than a small adjustment to our politics and culture as financial incentives beckon those in control of content distribution networks to place their fingers on the scales in the marketplace of ideas.
In the modern era, the analog of the public square is the private tech platform. This means that business and regulatory concerns are increasingly coming to dictate what can and cannot be said in the privatized public square.
As part of a broader dialogue and conference on balancing our constitutional rights to free speech against the changes wrought by digital platforms in the way information is constructed and spread, the Center for Innovation, Growth and Society (CIGS) recently hosted a conversation between Sam Harris and Nicholas Christakis entitled Above the Discord: Evolving our Common Humanity in the Age of the Internet.
Changing technology is forcing us to re-ev…