The Lawfare Podcast: Ben Kaiser and Jonathan Mayer on Fighting Misinformation Online

Jen Patja, Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Ben Kaiser, Jonathan Mayer
Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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The spread of misinformation is one of the biggest challenges facing social media platforms. A standard approach is to label suspicious posts or links so as to warn users that what they're engaging with is not reputable, but warnings, despite their wide use, haven't proven to be particularly successful. So what's a social media platform to do?

Two Princeton University computer scientists, Ben Kaiser, a PhD student, and Professor Jonathan Mayer, think they've found a better way. Instead of warning users about misinformation, they propose putting roadblocks between users and the misinformation they're tempted to click on. Alan Rozenshtein spoke with Ben and Jonathan about their research and about a piece they and Dr. J. Nathan Matias wrote recently for Lawfare entitled, "Warnings that Work: Combating Misinformation Without Deplatforming."

Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Alan Z. Rozenshtein is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, a senior editor at Lawfare, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he served as an Attorney Advisor with the Office of Law and Policy in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.
Ben Kaiser is a PhD candidate in Computer Science at Princeton University, where his research examines policy responses to online disinformation. Before coming to Princeton, Ben worked in the Secure Resilient Systems and Technologies group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and received a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Jonathan Mayer is an Assistant Professor at Princeton University, where he holds appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the School of Public and International Affairs. Before joining the Princeton faculty, he served as technology counsel to United States Senator Kamala D. Harris, as the Chief Technologist of the Federal Communications Commission Enforcement Bureau, and as a technology advisor at the California Department of Justice. Professor Mayer holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.

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