The Social Dilemma Debate: How to reform Social Media?

“These algorithms that these companies are using were built to keep the chaos. They’re built to make more money.”

– KesUraNu Baylor (Washington Urban Debate League)

“If algorithms don’t change then hate speech will continue.”

– Kailey Ramlal (Washington Urban Debate League)

“Young people fuel us and give us ideas on what policies we should be pursuing.”

-- Chief Deputy Attorney General of Washington D.C., Jason Downs, on the judge panel this the debate

Thank you to everyone who tuned in on Tuesday, Sept. 28th for the launch of The Social Dilemma Debate Project featuring a live debate of a question that The Social Dilemma leaves us to ponder – 'Should we change how social media is regulated?'

This project was a labor of love, bringing together Exposure Labs, the filmmaking team behind the Netflix Documentary The Social Dilemma, our friends at the Boston Urban Debate League, and the WUDL team for a great conversation about the future of social media.

Our student debaters, KesUraNu and Kailey, proposed to regulate social media as like a utility though a public good framework, while their opponents from the Boston Debate League, Richemie and Xyra, argued that we should reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This issue is personal for both of our students. Ranu is an aspiring programmer, and spent much of last season researching the fragility of American Democracy and the threat posed by white supremacists, while Kailey is an avid user of all of the platforms we discussed, and has personally experienced some of the downsides of social media censorship when advocating for social change.

Stay tuned for more events surrounding this great topic throughout the season, and be sure to check out the classroom resources designed for educators to bring this program into their classrooms.

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