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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Civil Discourse in the Social Media Age

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Session Description

In 2016, approximately 62 percent of Americans accessed news through social networking sites. Both the US and UK experienced political movements last year that underscored how these platforms spread fact and fiction—and the ability of citizens to know the difference. When clicks drive commercial value, not truth, unsavory incentives for content providers emerge. Is technology accelerating our retreat into divided camps? We’ll ask how social media platforms and content providers might also provide solutions to challenges of civil discourse and responsibility in the digital age.

When | Where

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM Wednesday, April 5 Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre


Panel Discussion

Session leaders

  • Philip Howard Speaker
    Professor of Sociology, Information and International Affairs, Oxford Internet Institute
    Philip N. Howard is a statutory Professor of Internet Studies at the Oxford Internet Institute and a Senior Fellow at Balliol College at the University of Oxford. He has published eight books and over 100 academic articles and public essays on information technology, international affairs and public life. Howard’s books include The Managed Citizen (Cambridge, 2006), the Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Oxford, 2010), and most recently Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up (Yale, 2015). He blogs at and tweets from @pnhoward.
  • Eli Pariser Speaker
    Co-Founder, Upworthy
    Eli has dedicated his career to figuring out how technology can elevate important topics in the world -- as an author, an online organizer, and most recently, as a co-founder of Upworthy. Eli served as the Executive Director of from 2004-2009. MoveOn revolutionized grassroots political organizing by introducing a small-donor-funded and email-driven model that has since been widely used across the political spectrum. quickly grew to more than 5 million members and raised over $120 million. During this time he also co-founded, which is now the largest online advocacy organization in the world totaling over 30 million members. In 2011, Eli published the New York Times bestseller The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. The book highlights the ways that important content can get lost in the newsfeed era. Eli founded Upworthy with longtime collaborator Peter Koechley in March of 2012. The pair set out to prove once and for all that what’s important can be incredibly popular, even if what’s popular isn’t usually important. To date, the Upworthy community has logged more than 1.5 billion minutes of attention on topics ranging from the criminal justice system to advertising’s adverse effects on body image to clean energy.
  • Manoush Zomorodi Moderator
    Host + Managing Editor, WNYC Radio
    Manoush Zomorodi is the host and managing editor of Note to Self, “the tech show about being human,” from WNYC Studios. Her book exploring how boredom can ignite original thinking, Bored and Brilliant: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Spacing Out(St. Martin’s Press) will be published in 2017. Every week on her podcast, Manoush searches for answers to life’s digital quandaries, through experiments and conversations with listeners and experts. Her most recent interactive project is called The Privacy Paradox. Thousands of listeners were part of a week-long experiment to take back their digital identity and control over their data. Manoush often speaks on creativity in the digital age, kids and technology, and women in media. Prior to New York Public Radio, she reported and produced around the world for BBC News and Thomson Reuters.
  • Matthew Segal Speaker
    Founder & Editor- in-Chief, ATTN
    Matthew Segal is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of ATTN:, a new media company with a mission to make news, politics, and social issues accessible for a young audience. In less than two years, with no paid growth, the company's content receives more than 250 million monthly video views and more than 10 million monthly web visits. Previously, Matthew was the co-founder and president of, one of the nation’s largest advocacy organizations for young Americans. While at, he led campaigns to expand job opportunities, voting rights, and civic education among his generation while devising strategic partnerships with media brands to enhance the voice of his peers. Under his leadership, also registered hundreds of thousands of voters; rallied celebrities, artists, and musicians to educate millions through social media; and built state-of-the-art voting technology to assist people with ballot questions and concerns. Matthew is also a regular TV commentator who contributes to MSNBC and has been a recurring guest on The TODAY Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and the CBS Evening News. He also has hosted a radio show on SiriusXM.