Free Speech and Social Media

Old Capitol Senate Chambers
Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Please join us for a discussion featuring a variety of perspectives on the challenges related to free speech in the ecosystem of social media. We will have a diverse panel of first amendment, industry and political perspectives. The speakers for this event will be:

Todd Pettys, H. Blair and Joan V. White Professor, UI College of Law. Professor Pettys will provide an overview of the first amendment as it relates to social media and regulation and moderate the discussion for the evening.

Keynote speakers:

  • Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. Mr. Szabo will provide a perspective on behalf of the social media industry.
  • Mike Davis, Founder and President, Internet Accountability Project. Mr Davis is a UI Alum and will provide a conservative perspective on the regulation of speech on social media.
  • Traci Griffith, Associate Professor, Simmons University. Professor Griffith will provide the perspective of a former AP journalist, an academic and lawyer who is on the executive committee of the national board of the ACLU.

Reactors for the discussion:

Two leaders of the Iowa Legislature will provide an Iowa political perspective of free speech and social media.

  • Sen. Amy Sinclair, represents District 14th (Wayne County-based) and Chairs the Senate Education Committee.
  • Sen. Zach Wahls, represents District 37 (Johnson County-based) and is the Senate Minority Leader.

Topics to be discussed will include:

  • Who, if anyone, should control what’s allowed online?
  • Should there be more regulation around how tech companies operate? Specifically, should the regulations associated with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act be modified, and if so, how and by whom?
  • If not by regulation, how should we consider misinformation or other activities contrary to the public good that arise on social media?

This event is free and open to the public. If you prefer to attend this event virtually, the live-stream link below will open at 7:00 PM on the evening of the event.