The U.S. Capitol attack on Jan. 6 revealed many gaping holes in the foundations of our democracy, including the role of digital media platforms in exacerbating and weaponizing disinformation.
Indeed, many of our societal ills – the mainstreaming of white nationalism, losing parties attacking the legitimacy of certified elections, and a growing distrust of electoral and public health systems – can be traced to systems of disinformation that have proliferated through digital technologies and social media.
As Congress begins its new term, there will be a strong push to regulate social media. Bipartisan concern over the concentration of informational power in companies like Facebook and Google have been brewing for some time, with a growing recognition that we cannot simply rely on digital media companies to regulate themselves. Indeed, Twitter’s recent decision to permanently suspend President Donald Trump from its platform increased calls for greater democratic accountability over such consequential decisions.