“Protecting Elections from Disinformation: A Multifaceted Public-Private Approach to Social Media and Democratic Speech”

Yasmin Dawood has posted this draft on SSRN (forthcoming, Ohio State Technology Law Journal). Here is the abstract:

This Article argues for a multifaceted public-private approach to the challenge of protecting the electoral process from the harms of disinformation. Such an approach employs a suite of complementary strategies—including disclosure rules, political ad registries, narrow content-based regulations against false election speech, self-regulation by online platforms, norm-based initiatives, civic education, and media literacy. It also deploys a mix of regulatory styles, namely, legal regulation (regulation imposed by the state), self-regulation (regulation by private actors), and co-regulation (regulation through cooperation between private actors and public actors). This Article has shown how the approach in Canada is multifaceted in both of these respects. In addition to incorporating a wide range of tactics by both public and private actors, the Canadian approach has adopted a mix of regulatory styles. The Article also canvasses the advantages and drawbacks of each individual tactic.

In addition, this Article focuses on the dilemma posed by protecting the electoral process from disinformation while also protecting the freedom of speech. It argues that a multifaceted public-private approach allows for the trade-off between disinformation and free speech to be optimized. The combined and interactive effects of a multifaceted approach provide helpful protections against some of the harms of disinformation. More importantly, the adoption of these multifaceted public-private strategies signals the importance of electoral integrity to citizens thereby bolstering public trust in elections, a key ingredient of long-term democratic stability.

Looking forward to reading this!

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