The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Silicon Valley speech suppression goes to the Supreme Court

Episode 409 of the Cyberlaw Podcast


Paul Rosenzweig and I butt heads over the recent 11th Circuit decision mostly striking down Florida's law regulating social media platforms' content "moderation" rules. We disagree flamboyantly on pretty much everything else – including whether the Court will restore the district court injunction blocking Texas's similar law. He thinks it will, I think it won't. And, by 5-4, the Court gives Paul the win. Just after the podcast ended, we learned that the Court had made its decision and blocked the Texas law.

When it comes to content moderation, it turns out, Silicon Valley is a lot tougher on the Libs of TikTok than on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Instagram just suspended the Libs of Tiktok account, I report, while a recent Brookings study shows that the Chinese government's narratives are polluting Google and Bing search results on a regular basis. Google News and YouTube do the worst job of keeping the Chinese party line out of searches. Both Google News and YouTube return CCP-supportive links on the first page about a quarter of the time.

I ask Sultan Meghji to shed some light on the remarkable TerraUSD cryptocurrency crash. Which leads us, not surprisingly, from massive investor losses to whether financial regulators have jurisdiction over cryptocurrency. The short answer: Whether they have jurisdiction or not, all the incentives favor an assertion of jurisdiction, so buckle up. And Nick Weaver is with us in spirit when we flag his rip-roaring attack on every bit of cryptocurrency – a don't-miss-it interview for readers who can't get enough of Nick.

It's a big episode for Artificial Intelligence (AI) news too. Matthew Heiman contrasts the different approaches to AI regulation in three big jurisdictions. China's is pretty focused, Europe's is ambitious and all-pervading, and the United States isn't ready to do anything.

Paul thinks DuckDuckGo should be DuckDuckGone after the search engine allowed Microsoft trackers to follow users of its browser.

Sultan and I explore the many ways to bias AI algorithms. It turns out that skimping on datasets makes the algorithm especially sensitive to the order in which the data is presented. Debiasing with synthetic data has its own risks, Sultan avers. But if you're looking for good news, here's some: Self-driving car companies who are late to the party are likely to catch up fast, because they can build on a lot of data that's already been collected, as well as new training techniques.

Matthew breaks down the $150 million fine paid by Twitter for allowing ad targeting of the phone numbers its users supplied for two-factor authentication (2FA) security purposes.

Finally, in quick hits:

Download the 409th Episode (mp3)

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