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Social Media and Democracy – Helping or Hurting?

October 6 @ 5:30 pm

The UNC Program for Public Discourse will bring together thought leaders from academia and the tech sector to discuss whether social media can promote – or at least co-exist with – democracy.

Many greeted social media and its promise to further democratize information with the same positive attitudes applied to much of the early Internet. However, there has since been a dramatic reassessment of its impact on our democracy and its institutions. Over the past five years, concerns have proliferated about how social media platforms have fueled polarization, limited and regulated speech, and accelerated the spread of disinformation and conspiracies.

For this Abbey Speaker Series event, and as part of our Democracy and Public Discourse series, the UNC Program for Public Discourse brings together thought leaders from academia and the tech sector to discuss these concerns and whether and how social media can better fulfill the pro-democracy role originally envisioned.


  • Yascha Mounk, Associate Professor of Practice at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies


  • Rumman Chowdhury, Director of the Machine-learning Ethics, Transparency, and Accountability (META) team at Twitter
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan, Director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia



October 6
5:30 pm