Ethics & Platform Governance – A Conversation with Dr. Michael Katell

In February, legal scholar and journalist Kate Klonick wrote a detailed exposé for The New Yorker about Facebook’s Oversight Board, which some are calling the platform’s “Supreme Court.” In theory, the Board will have the authority, even over Mark Zuckerberg, to write a set of principles by which content is allowed (or not) to remain on the platform.

As any reader knows, I am unapologetically cynical about the premise that social media was ever particularly good for democratic societies in the first place. And that cynicism certainly does not wane with the prospect of Facebook’s Oversight Board. But to discuss some of the issues raised by Klonick’s article, and the subject of platform governance in general, I hosted this podcast interview with Dr. Michael Katell of the Public Policy Program at the Alan Turing Institute in London. Follow him on Twitter.

Show Contents

  • 00:59 – Dr. Katell’s areas of study and expertise.
  • 05:34 – The Facebook oversight board.
  • 10:44 – Neutrality is not an option.
  • 18:38 – Social media aggravating flaws in human nature.
  • 27:14 – Social media and human nature continued.
  • 32:08 – Why don’t we quit social media?
  • 35:53 – Will people be penalized for not using social media?
  • 40:44 – Do social platforms have the power of governments?
  • 45:39 – Toward a state of technological feudalism?
  • 54:12 – Regulation without faith in democracy.
  • 58:09 – Living in alternate realities.

© 2021, David Newhoff. All rights reserved.

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