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Social media’s responsibility in American politics

Former US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes argues that one of the biggest issues in American political discourse at the moment is the lack of regulation on social media platforms. Americans believe fake news, not because they are all crazy, but because this information is being effectively presented to them as though it is fact. Biden should work with Big Tech to regulate social media, Rhodes tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, because the situation is worsening. "Part of what's different is the way in which social media and technology has literally made it possible for a very large chunk of this country to live in an alternative reality."

Watch the episode: Is American democracy in danger?

Cuba internet censorship amid protests; pressure grows against Huawei

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

Cuba has curbed access to messaging apps amid protests. How controlled and censored is Cuba's internet?

Well, any debate and criticism is tightly controlled in Cuba, including through information, monitoring and monopoly. But activists such as blogger Yoani Sánchez have always been brave in defying repression and making sure that messages of Cubans reached others online across the world. Now mobile internet has become accessible to Cubans since about two years, but accessing it remains incredibly expensive. But the fact that the regime in Cuba once again seeks to censor people through shutting down internet services actually shows it is its Achilles' heel. As Yoani has said, the Castros have lost the internet.

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Biden’s executive order cracks down on Big Tech and protects consumers

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses tech policy in the United States and the new White House executive order with no less than 72 competition enhancing measures.

How will Biden's executive order crack down on big tech?

The answer is in almost every way. The order clearly seeks stronger antitrust enforcement with specific provisions on data and the impact of its assembling on privacy. The order asks for new rules on surveillance from the FTC but will also allow for assessments of not only future but also past mergers. And that is important because the very wealthy, very powerful tech companies are known to buy up competitors that they may fear, and through those mergers grow their data piles. So, the executive order must cause concern in Silicon Valley. The order goes on to restore net neutrality, which is crucial for smaller companies and noncommercial websites. And the position of consumers improves with the possibility to have products repaired or to see others doing that, which is a practice that is often banned today. So once these various measures are in place, the public interest, innovation, consumer rights, and privacy protection should be better safeguarded from abuse of power by big tech.

Apple vs Facebook, a clash of the tech titans; social media algorithms scrutiny

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

How big of a blow is Apple's new privacy feature to companies like Facebook, who depend on tracking users?

The long-awaited update, including enhanced privacy features, actually empowers those users to decide not to be tracked. So that's great news for people who are sick of how the data trail they leave behind on the web is used. But it has to be said, that simple feature settings changed by Apple cannot solve the problem of misuse of data and microtargeting alone. Still, Apple's move was met with predictable outrage and anti-trust accusations from ad giant Facebook. I would anticipate more standard setting by companies in the absence of a federal data protection law in the United States. That's just to mention one vacuum that big tech thrives on.

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US joins in call to regulate Big Tech; EU proposes AI tech regulation

Get insights on the latest news about emerging trends in cyberspace from Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford University's Cyber Policy Center and former European Parliamentarian:

This week we talk about one of my favorite topics, regulation. Laws are often framed as a barrier to innovation and not always recognized as a key enabler of freedoms and the protection of rights. But what's more is that regulation is a process, and one that can have tons of different outcomes. So, being in favor or against regulation doesn't mean anything. Except that those who oppose any changes are apparently benefiting from the status quo.

Is the world at a tipping point when it comes to regulating big tech?

And I would say absolutely. The outsized power of big tech is recognized more broadly because the harms are so blatantly clear. Harms to democracy, public health, but also to fairness in the economy are all related to the outsized power of unaccountable and under-regulated big tech. Now, what's significant is that this debate has finally hit home in the United States after it was already recognized as a problem in many other parts of the world.

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Kara Swisher on Trump’s social media ban

What does renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher make of the swift and near-universal social media ban imposed on former President Trump shortly after the January 6 Capitol riots? She supported the move, but she doesn't think these companies should be left off the hook either. "Why are these systems built this way so someone like President Trump can abuse them in such a fashion. Or in fact, not abuse them but use them exactly as they were built." Her conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Section 230: The 90's law still governing the internet

The technology of the 1990s looked nothing like today's connected world—and the internet hosted just a fraction of the billions of people who now use it every day. Yet, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, passed in 1996, is the law that governs rights and responsibilities of social media companies…that weren't even around when it was written. Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

How to change a social media business model that profits from division

The United States has never been more divided, and it's safe to say that social media's role in our national discourse is a big part of the problem. But renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher doesn't see any easy fix. "I don't know how you fix the architecture of a building that is just purposely dangerous for everybody." Swisher joins Ian Bremmer to talk about how some of the richest companies on Earth, whose business models benefit from discord and division, can be compelled to see their better angels. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

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