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What's Up at Congress with Quinta Jurecic and Molly Reynolds

Congress, which has been on recess for the month of August, has a lot on its plate. The January 6 committee is starting to receive information, and it has gone into stealth mode. If Congress doesn't get its act together, the government is going to shut down and we're going to default on the federal debt. And there's actually been some oversight hearings recently. We decided to check in on it all with Molly Reynolds and Quinta Jurecic, both of the Brookings Institution and both senior editors at Lawfare. They joined Benjamin Wittes to talk about what Congress has been doing, what's coming down the pike and if we are headed toward disaster.

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10/14/2021

Finstas, Falsehoods and the First Amendment

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s recent testimony before Congress has set in motion a renewed cycle of outrage over the company’s practices—and a renewed round of discussion around what, if anything, Congress should do to rein Facebook in. But how workable are these proposals, really?This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jeff Kosseff, an associate professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy, and the guy that has literally written not just the book on this, but two of them. He is the author of “The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet,” a book about Section 230, and he has another book coming out next year about First Amendment protections for anonymous speech, titled “The United States of Anonymous.” So Jeff isvery well positioned to evaluate recent suggestions that Facebook should, for example, limit the ability of young people to create what users call Finstas, a second, secret Instagram account for a close circle of friends—or Haugen’s suggestion that the government should regulate how Facebook amplifies certain content through its algorithms. Jeff discussed the importance of online anonymity, the danger of skipping past the First Amendment when proposing tech reforms, and why he thinks that Section 230 reform has become unavoidable … even if that reform might not make any legal or policy sense.