Social Media Regulation

1) Watch "The Great Hack" on Netflix (or here) and read the selections from the home page for this assignment

2) Choose a position either to regulate or not to regulate social media or for some other position to impact the use/delivery of information via social media.

3) Example paragraphs can be of two types:

a) the example paragraph can provide evidence that supports your position.

b) the example paragraph can criticize the evidence that the opposing side(s) uses to argue its position.

4) You may argue by analogy with respect to any other law or similar case regarding First Amendment issues.

5) In your conclusion present what you think should be the solution to the presumed crisis about fake news.

6) All outside research should be referenced using MLA parenthetical citation. For details go here.

From "The Big Tech Extortion Racket: How Google, Amazon and Facebook Control Our Lives" by Barry C. Lynn from Harper's Magazine September 2020

"In 2018 an Irish technologist named Dylan Curran downloaded the information Google had collected about him. All in all, Curran found, the corporation had gathered 5.5 GB of data on his life, or the equivalent of more than three million Word documents. In an article for The Guardian, Curran wrote that within this trove he found

every Google Ad I've ever viewed or clicked on, every app I've ever launched or used and when I did it, every website I've ever visited and what time I did it. They also have every image I've ever searched for and saved, every location I've ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I've ever searched for or read and every single Google search I've made in since 2009. And . . . every YouTube video I've ever searched for or viewed, since 2008.

In addition Curran discovered that Google keeps a detailed record of what events he attends and when he arrives, what photos he takes and when he takes them, what exercises he does and when he does them. And it has kept every e-mail he has ever sent or received, including those he has deleted."

Question Set #1

Read the following essays and answer corresponding study questions:

a) Watch "The Great Hack" on Netflix (shown in class) [] []

b) "Cambridge Analytica: The Data Firm's Global Influence" by BBC News [March 2018]

c) "Fresh Cambridge Analytica Leak Shows Global Manipulation Is Out of Control" by Carole Cadwalladr in The Guardian

d) "There Are Plenty More like Cambridge Analytica. I Know — I've Used the Data" by Poppy Noor from The Guardian

e) "A ‘big data’ firm sells Cambridge Analytica’s methods to global politicians, documents show" in Quartz by Olivia Goldhill [Aug. 14, 2019]

Study Questions #1 Click here

Question Set #2

d) "What is GDPR and How will It Affect You?" by Alex Hern for The Guardian [May 21 2018]

e) "GDPR: A Cheat Sheet" by Mark W. Kaelin for Tech Republic

f) NetzDG on Wikipedia

f) "German States Want Social Media Tightened" by Reuters [November 12, 2018]

g) "Germany: Flawed Social Media Law" by Human Rights Watch

h) "Apple Chief Pushes For US Privacy Law to Stop Weaponizing Data" from France 24


Study Questions #2. Click here.

Question Set #3

i) "Finland is Winning the War on Fake News. What It's Learned May Be Crucial to Western Democracy " by Eliza Mackintosh fort CNN

j) "How Finland is Fighting Fake News in the Classroom" by Emma Charlton from The World Economic Forum

k) History Tells Us Social Media Regulation is Inevitable by Kalev Leetaru, Forbes Magazine April 22, 2019

l) "Analyzing 20 Ideas to Regulate the Internet" by Josh Bernoff on


Study Questions #3 Click here

Rough Outline for Social Media Regulation Paper

I. Intro

Story/Fact/Anecdote/Statistic that might introduce the issue.
Thesis: State whether regulation is needed or not, and if so, what degrees/types/kinds of regulation are needed


Establishing the problem.
 • 2016 issues with Cambridge Analytica
 • 2020/ongoing issues with elections
 • other problems with ad targeting or other kinds of information targeting
 • information silos and divisiveness (see The Social Dilemma [Netflix Documentary])


Arguing for the relevance and effectiveness of social media regulation
 • Choose one of the major comprehensive plans and argue the merits and effectiveness
 • Choose piecemeal laws or proposals for action

IV. Conclusion

Discuss the solution to the issue of fake news

Other Resources

Panel Discussion via The Computer History Museum with Director of The Great Hack Karim Amer, Writer and Producer of The Great Hack Pedro Kos, Carole Cadwalladr, and cyber policy expert Marietje Schaake [1:25:31]

Carole Cadwalladr from The Guardian on TED "It's Not About Privacy—It's About Power"

Carole Cadwalladr—Facebook's Role in the Brexit vote — and the threat to Democracy.


Social Media Regulation Comparison [NetzDG vs. GDPR vs. California Consumer Privacy Act]

FCC Fairness doctrine [Wikipedia]

WTF is DSA: What Europe's New Content Moderation Law Means for the Internet by Clothilde Goujard in Politico [Oct. 27 2022]

Why The Past Ten Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid by Jonathan Haidt from The Atlantic [April 11, 2022]

Fight the Fake—spotting Fake News stories on France 24

"Fake News, Facebook Ads, and Misperceptions" Dartmouth study by Andrew Guess, Benjamin Lyons, Jacob Montgomery, Brendan Nyhan and JAson Reifler

"Is Tik Tok A Chinese Cambridge Analytica Data Bomb Waiting to Explode?" by David Carroll for Quartz [May 7, 2019]

Overview of the NetzDG Network Enforcement Law at CDT

"Germany's NetzDG and the Threat to Online Free Speech" by Diana Lee for Yale Law School (Oct. 10, 2017)

"Social network Gab, a home for anti-Semitic speech, produced some of its own" by Jose Pagliery and Konstantin Toropin for CNN[Oct. 30, 2018]

"Social Media Outpaces Print Newspapers in the US as a News Source" by Elisa Shearer for the Pew Research Center

World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders

Worldwide Rankings of PISA scores by Facts Maps

"Google to Pay $170 Million for Violating Kids' Privacy" on YouTube by Sarah Min of CBS News [September 5, 2019]

Media Literacy Index [2018] Open Society Institute

Media Literacy Index [2019] Open Society Institute

California Consumer Privacy Act [Wikipedia]

California’s Data Privacy Law: What It Is and How to Comply (A Step-By-Step Guide) by Dickinson Wright Legal Services

Behind the "Disinformation Campaign" Backing Trump in the 2020 Election on NPR (Mary Louise Kelly, host) on Feb. 7, 2020

The Social Dilemma by Tristan Harris

Link to film on Netflix: The Social Dilemma

Addictive Gambling Design

Natasha Dow Schüll on Addictive Gambling Design Hooked on Smartphones: Silicon Valley's Bet on Addictive Gambling Design Paid Off

[Part 1][Part 2]