October 17, 2019 Democracy in the Digital Age

A Conversation on Free Expression with Mark Zuckerberg

Gaston Hall Third Floor, Healy Hall, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

The Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy and its Institute of Politics and Public Service in conjunction with the Free Speech Project, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and its Ethics Lab, and the Massive Data Institute at the McCourt School of Public Policy on October 17th hosted, “A Conversation on Free Expression” with Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Facebook. 

Zuckerberg took the stage to discuss his stance on free speech and free expression in the context of his social media platform. He defended the company’s policy to not regulate or censor political ads based on their content, which received backlash after it was announced about a month ago.

 #ZuckerbergatGU was the first event for the GU Politics series, “Democracy in the Digital Age.” This new initiative will include a number of upcoming public conversations with diverse leaders in politics, government, technology, and media on the challenges and opportunities for democracy in our overwhelmingly digital era.

Zuckerberg noted that moderating speech is a difficult issue to tackle: while freedom of speech may allow hateful comments and give people a platform to call to violence, it has also allowed for movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo to garner global attention. He said he’d rather have his company err on the side of giving a broad voice to people globally than limiting it for its content, which could be seen as a biased move from the company’s perspective.

After Zuckerberg’s speech, GU Politics Executive Director Mo Elleithee asked Zuckerberg questions submitted by students in the audience. The questions covered a variety of topics, from the dangers of harmful speech on social media, to the breakup of big tech, and the value that Facebook can contribute to political campaigns.

Watch the full video of the event here, and read more about this event in Georgetown’s student-run newspaper, the Hoya, or the University’s news page.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leads a conversation on free expression at Georgetown University on October 17, 2019 in Washington, DC. The event was hosted by the university抯 McCourt School of Public Policy and its Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics). (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Facebook)

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 17: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leads a conversation on free expression at Georgetown University on October 17, 2019 in Washington, DC. The event was hosted by the university’s McCourt School of Public Policy and its Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics). (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Facebook)

Location

Gaston Hall, Third Floor, Healy Hall

Date

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

Time

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Doors open at 12:00 p.m. Doors close at 12:45 p.m.

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