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Facebook, Hypocrisy, and Hippocrates Lecture

Wednesday, April 15

King Hall, Room 1001
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM


In recent years Internet giants, including notably the social media firm Facebook, have faced sharp and relentless criticism.  Facebook in particular has been accused of violating its users’ privacy, of permitting foreign governments (notably Russia) to use fake accounts to manipulate American voters, of failing to remove content that is personally harassing, of failing to remove content that incites violence, and of failing to control false and misleading political speech.  Inevitably, critics of Facebook have proposed a number of regulatory solutions to Facebook’s alleged problems. 

In this lecture, Professor Ashutosh Bhagwat will examine the attacks on Facebook, and argue that while Facebook is certainly not without fault, many of the criticisms are overstated or confused.  He will also argue that many of the proposed “solutions” to Facebook’s problems are both self-contradictory, and fail to adequately engage with the question of how the sorts of valuable, free services that firms like Facebook and Google provide can be maintained in the face of new regulation.  Finally, he will argue that at least some regulatory proposals violate the spirit, and often the letter, of the First Amendment.  Ultimately, he concludes, for now we might be best off following the famous dictum attributed to Hippocrates:  “First, do no harm.”  Social media firms themselves are actively experimenting with voluntary policies to address recent problems.  Before we take radical and potentially irreversible steps, perhaps we should wait and see how that works out.”

Please RSVP here

Lunch will be provided
MCLE credits will be available


For more information, please contact Onell Berrios at