IGF-USA 2021 Session

The Social Platform Dilemma: Governance Approaches to Moderate Legal But “Objectionable” Content

Wednesday, July 14

4:15 – 5:30 PM EDT

This panel explores the role of government, private sector, and civil society in content moderation decisions and reviews how social media platforms are addressing societal and state pressure to moderate and remove content that offends, may be considered hateful or violent, and possibly misleading, but is not illegal in the United States. It explores new models of public-private partnerships and coordination and the risk and opportunities these present.

Alex Feerst

General Counsel, Neuralink

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Alex Feerst is General Counsel at Neuralink, a company developing implantable brain-machine interfaces.He spent four years as Head of Legal and Head of Trust and Safety at publishing platform Medium, where he led enforcement of the platform’s content policies, and continues to serve as the company’s trust and safety advisor. He is working on an oral history of online content moderation, of which an excerpt, “Your Speech, Their Rules” recently appeared on Medium.He serves as President of the San Francisco Intellectual Property Association, an advisory board member for the Trust & Safety Professional Association, and a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society.

Farzaneh Badiei

Director of Social Media Governance Initiative, Yale University

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Farzaneh Badiei is the director of Justice Collaboratory's Social Media Governance Initiative based in Yale Law School. Previously she was the Executive Director of the Internet Governance Project at Georgia Institute of Technology. For nearly a decade, Farzaneh has been a part of the Internet governance research and professional community. She has conducted research at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) and Syracuse School of Information Studies. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics. Her dissertation focused on online private justice systems, institutional design, and online market intermediaries. Farzaneh also worked at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum Secretariat.

Farzaneh's current research interests revolve around online private justice systems, Internet governance and accountability of Internet governance institutions, Internet and jurisdiction, online intermediaries and dispute resolution as well as cybersecurity, cyberattribution and digital trade.

Julie Owono

Executive Director, Internet Sans Frontières

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Julie Owono is an expert in digital rights and international technology law, and an advocate for Business and Human Rights principles in the technology industry. She is Executive Director of Internet Sans Frontières, an organization which defends digital rights and access to the internet. She is also a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, a Digital Civil Society Fellow at Stanford University, a member of UNESCO's Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) for the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, a Member of the Expert Committee on Digital Inclusion of the World Benchmarking Alliance, and a Civil Society member of the Global Network Initiative's Board.

Rob Rakowitz

Initiative Lead - The Global Alliance for Responsible Media, World Federation of Advertisers

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Rob Rakowitz is a connector and builder of both teams and solutions to create breakthrough work in the overlap space between media, data, marketing, and technology.

Rob Rakowitz joined the WFA as the Initiative Lead for the Global Alliance for Responsible Media in July 2019. In this role Rob acts leads and facilitates a community of 100+ media leaders spanning advertisers, media agencies, and media owners platforms to address the issue of online safety in the mutual interests of consumers, brands and the media industry. In this Rob helps to manage strategic direction for the GARM in collaboration with its Steer Team, the WFA Executive Committee, and the ANA CMO Growth Council. Rob was instrumental to the creation of the GARM and was a cofounder in his previous role as the Head of Global Media at Mars.

Prior to his work on GARM, Rob drove a successful 5-year media transformation for Mars Incorporated that touched on how media drives value and growth at corporate, capability, and campaign levels across 150 markets. Rob has also had successive media agency leadership roles at Mindshare, Carat, and OMD where he’s made it a mission to make media matter to industry-leading global marketers such as American Express, Procter & Gamble, Visa, McDonald’s, and Hershey’s. Rob’s work has been recognized by the Internationalist, CMO Club, the 4A’s, Effie Worldwide, and the Cannes Festival of Creativity.

Rob holds an International MBA from IE Madrid, and a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Albany. Rob finds his balance and brings a unique leadership style from competitive cycling, where he holds and has led teams to multiple state championships and international recognitions. Rob lives in New York, with his wife Jessica and their two children Henry and Roxana.

James Taylor

President, Heartland Institute

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The Board of Directors unanimously elected James Taylor president of The Heartland Institute on March 18, 2020. Taylor is also director of Heartland's Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy. Taylor is also the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism. For many years, he wrote a regular column for Forbes, which appeared on the magazine's Forbes.com website.

Taylor has presented energy and environment analysis on CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Channel, MSNBC, PBS News Hour, PBS Frontline, CBS Evening News, ABC World News, and other TV and radio outlets across the country. He has been published in virtually every major newspaper in the country.

He has been a featured presenter at conferences sponsored by such groups as the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Council of State Governments, National Association of Counties, National Foundation of Women Legislators, State Policy Network (SPN), CPAC, Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, and European Institute for Climate and Energy. Video of Taylor's presentation at The Heartland Institute's Eighth International Conference on Climate Change can be found here.

Taylor received his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College where he studied atmospheric science and majored in government. He received his Juris Doctorate from Syracuse University.

Steve DelBianco

President and CEO, NetChoice

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As President and CEO, Steve works with NetChoice members to set and execute the NetChoice agenda.

Steve has become a well-known expert on Internet governance, online consumer protection, and Internet taxation. He’s provided expert testimony in 25 Congressional hearings and many more state legislative sessions.

Steve advocates for NetChoice positions at the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Legislative Exchange Council, where he serves on the Private Enterprise Board. Moreover, Steve regularly enters the lion’s den at the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board, where he’s the lone opponent of new tax burdens on Internet commerce.

Steve is frequently quoted on technology issues in the media, including a segment on 60 Minutes exposing barriers to innovation in residential real estate. Steve debated online taxes on CNN Situation Room, CNBC Larry Kudlow, PBS Nightly Business Report, CBS This Morning, and Marketplace Radio.

His analysis of new Internet sales taxes was featured in a full-page debate in the Wall Street Journal. Steve’s insights and editorials have shown in POLITICO, National Journal, Chicago Tribune, CNet, PC World, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Regarding Internet governance, Steve protects NetChoice member interests at ICANN, where he’s the elected policy chair for the Business Constituency. He’s participated in all meetings of the UN’s Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and is a lead organizer at the IGF-USA.

Before his work at NetChoice, Steve was founder and president of Financial Dynamics, an IT consulting firm that he led through the evolution of industry trends. Under Steve’s leadership, Financial Dynamics grew to over $20 million in revenues by 1997, when it was acquired by a national firm. Today, Steve continues to advise and invest in early stage companies as a partner in venture capital funds.

Steve holds degrees in Engineering and in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, plus an MBA from the Wharton School. He lives in McLean, Virginia where he is active in community government.


Courtney Radsch

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Dr. Courtney C. Radsch is a journalist, practitioner, and published author with more than 20 years of experience at the intersection of technology, media and human rights. She writes and speaks frequently about global tech policy, disinformation, content moderation, online harassment and digital security, media sustainability, journalism, and free expression and serves on the masthead of Tech Policy Press.

Radsch provides strategic advocacy consulting to leading human rights and journalist organizations, most recently for ARTICLE 19 and the International Women’s Foundation. Over seven years as Advocacy Director at the Committee to Protect Journalists, Radsch led the development and implementations of advocacy initiatives and strategic communications to advance press freedom and the safety of journalists on and offline. Under her leadership, CPJ helped gain the early release of more than 440 journalists from jail globally, evacuated 70 journalists from Syria, compelled tech platforms to address online harassment, and influenced governmental policy while exponentially increasing earned media and partnerships.

Dr. Radsch is the author of Cyberactivism and Citizen Journalism in Egypt: Digital Dissidence & Political Change, numerous book chapters, and several peer reviewed journal articles. Her commentary and reporting have been published in The New York Times, Forbes, Al Jazeera, CNN, Project Syndicate, among others. She regularly provides expert commentary in the media, including the BBC, NPR, Fox, MSNBC, and PBS Frontline as well as local outlets around the world. Radsch has testified before Congress and participated in expert consultations at the United Nation, OSCE and E.U. and with technology platforms. She has led advocacy missions to more than a dozen countries, U.N. bodies, and the Internet Governance Forum. She is a founding member of the ACOS (A Culture of Safety) Alliance and the Dynamic Coalition on Sustainability of Journalism and the News Media, which helped establish normative and practical frameworks that advance advocacy goals related to news media and independent journalism. She was appointed by the UN Secretary General to the Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in 2021.

Prior to CPJ, Dr. Radsch worked for UNESCO where she coordinated strategy in the Arab region, conceptualized and edited the flagship publication "World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development," and helped conceptualize the “internet universality” framework. Dr. Radsch previously managed the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at Freedom House, where she led strategic advocacy programming that translated research into impact. She designed and led training for human rights defenders in global advocacy at the Human Rights Council, the IGF, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and international civil society collaboration. She edited Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights, and wrote several chapters of Freedom of the Press each year. Before becoming a free expression advocate, Radsch worked for The New York Times, Al-Arabiya in Dubai, and the Daily Star in Lebanon.

She holds a doctorate in international relations from American University, a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a bachelor's degree with highest honors in mass communication from the University of California, Berkeley. She speaks Arabic, French, Spanish and tweets @courtney