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Internet Speech and Democratic Politics

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Jaime Settle explores how the forms of expression on social media can undermine the mutual tolerance required by a functioning democracy.

When we consider the potential threats posed by social media to our democracy, we tend to focus on bad actors and their malicious intent. From this standpoint, the task of protecting democracy while preserving legitimate speech is a matter of targeting the trolls and bots that distort online discourse. JAIME SETTLE, author of Frenemies: How Social Media Polarizes America, suggests that the problem goes deeper. It may be that the forms of expression found on social media undermine, in and of themselves, the mutual tolerance required by a functioning democracy – that we become our own worst enemies. In the face of this challenge, Settle offers a framework to reduce polarization while upholding free speech rights.

Following the event, Jaime Settle will be available for a small “round-table” discussion with Penn students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The conversation starts at 6:30 PM and will be facilitated by TableTalk Penn.

Register for the post-event dialogue

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