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As 2022 draws to a close, I’m grateful to the nearly 200 guests that joined me on almost 100 episodes of the Tech Policy Press podcast this year. Below are the top 20 episodes by number of listens, on topics ranging from Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter to the full scale Russian invasion of Ukraine to Web3 and cryptocurrency. Thanks to all of our listeners.
1. The Whiteness of Mastodon
November 23, 2022 — A conversation with Dr. Johnathan Flowers, who studies the philosophy of technology, to learn more about some of the exclusive norms he’s observed that may create obstacles to communities of color when contemplating the switch to Mastodon, and potentially to safety more generally in the ‘Fediverse.’
2. Scrutinizing “The Twitter Files”
December 4, 2022 — Conversations with David Ingram, who covers tech for NBC News, and Mike Masnick, the editor of the influential site Tech Dirt, on the ‘Twitter Files’ and what they portend for the future of Twitter under Elon Musk.
3. Mexican Loan Apps, Extortion, and the Google Play Store
August 14, 2022 — Thomson Reuters journalist Diana Baptista tells the story of people in Mexico who fall prey to predatory lending apps that are available in the Play Store.
4. Worldcoin: Where Techno-Optimism Meets Techno-Colonialism
April 4, 2022 — Conversations with Richard Nieva & Aman Sethi at BuzzFeed News and Eileen Guo & Adi Renaldi at MIT Technology Review about their separate feature stories on Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency startup founded by Sam Altman that collected the biometrics of a massive number of people in communities in places like Kenya and Indonesia,
5. A Conversation with Evelyn Douek
March 27, 2022 — A conversation with legal scholar Evelyn Douek about her Harvard Law Review article, “Content Moderation as Administration.“
6. State Media, Social Media, and the Conflict in Ukraine
March 6, 2022 — Convened by Stanford’s Nate Persily, this panel considered the moves taken by governments and technology platforms following the invasion of Ukraine, and featured panelists Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Security Policy at Meta, which operates Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp; Yoel Roth, then Head of Site Integrity at Twitter; Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at the Cyber Policy Center and former Member of European Parliamen; Renée DiResta, Research Manager at the Stanford Internet Observator; Alex Stamos, Director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and former Chief Security Officer of Facebook; Alicia Wanless, Director of the Partnership for Countering Influence Operations at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Mike McFaul, Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and former U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation.
7. Ukraine, Russia, and the 21st Century Permanent Information War
February 17, 2022 — A conversation with Peter Pomerantzev, a senior fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University and co-director of Arena, a research project that explores how media can reach polarized and antagonistic audiences, one week before the full scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.
8. Ukraine, Disinformation, Propaganda and the Platforms
February 26, 2022 — Conversations with Clint Watts, Taylor Lorenz & Patrick Coffee on Ukraine, disinformation, propaganda, scammers, ad tech, and the tech platforms.
9. Rethinking Far-Right Online Radicalization
May 13, 2022 — A conversation with Alice Marwick about her report (with co-authors Benjamin Clancy and Katherine Furl), Far-Right Online Radicalization: A Review of the Literature, an analysis of “cross-disciplinary work on radicalization to better understand the present concerns around online radicalization and far-right extremist and fringe movements.”
10. Is Web3 the Answer? A Conversation with Gilad Edelman
May 22, 2022 — A conversation with Wired’s Gilad Edelman about his cover story, “Paradise at the Crypto Arcade: Inside the Web3 Revolution.”
11. Debate Over Content Moderation Heads to the Supreme Court
October 9, 2022 — A conversation with Brandie Nonnecke, Director of the CITRIS Policy Lab at UC Berkeley and the Director of Our Better Web; Jameel Jaffer, Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University; and Will Oremus, a news analysis writer focused on tech and society at The Washington Post.
12. Can Big Tech Platforms Operate Responsibly on a Global Scale?
September 18, 2022 — A conversation with Pierre François Docquir, Head of Media Freedom, ARTICLE 19; Roberta Taveri, an ARTICLE 19 program officer with expertise on Bosnia and Herzegovina; Catherine Muya from ARTICLE 19 East Africa, who focuses on Kenya, and Sherly Haristya, PhD, an independent researcher with expertise on Indonesia.
13. Facebook’s Legal Woes
May 1, 2022 — A discussion on key cases under consideration with one particularly keen observer of Meta: Jason Kint, the CEO of Digital Content Next.
14. Barack Obama’s Speech, Elon Musk’s Antics
April 27, 2022 — A conversation with David Kaye, Professor of Law at UC Irvine and the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Emily Bell, Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University; and Jameel Jaffer, Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
15. Peering Inside the Platforms
June 26, 2022 — An episode on platform transparency and researcher access to data featuring a discussion with Brandon Silverman, the founder and former CEO of CrowdTangle; and a panel discussion featuring Anna Lenhart, Senior Technology Policy Advisor to Rep. Lori Trahan, a Democrat from Massachusetts; Deborah Raji, a fellow at the Mozilla Foundation and a PhD Candidate in Computer Science at UC Berkeley; and Mona Sloane, a sociologist affiliated with NYU and the University of Tübingen AI center. The panel was moderated by Ellen P. Goodman, a Professor at Rutgers Law School and a Visiting Senior Fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States.
16. The Power of the Platforms with Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
May 8, 2022 — A discussion with Rasmus Kleis Nielsen about his book titled The Power of the Platforms: Shaping Media and Society, written with Sarah Anne Ganter and published last spring by Oxford University Press.
17. What is Lost if Twitter Fails?
November 18, 2022 — A conversation with Dr. Meredith Clark, whose research focuses on the intersections of race, media, and power. She’s leading a project to archive Black Twitter, as part of a larger project to archive the Black web.
18. One Man’s Outsized Influence on Facebook- and the World
April 17, 2022 — A conversation with Benjamin Wofford, the author of a WIRED cover story titled The Infinite Reach of Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s Man in Washington: How one man came to rule political speech on Facebook, command one of the largest lobbies in DC, and guide Zuck through disaster—and straight into it.
19. Ukraine May Mark a Turning Point in Documenting War Crimes
April 3, 2022 — A snapshot of the effort to document war crimes in Ukraine, based on interviews with more than a dozen individuals representing a sample of organizations involved in the work. It reveals some of the key challenges facing this growing field: the reliance on volunteers working in the midst of a conflict; security threats and coordination problems flowing from the over-collection of material; and the centrality of social media platforms that were never designed with atrocity documentation in mind.
20. India Cracks Down on Online Expression
July 10, 2022 — A conversation convened by Angrej Singh, who interned with Tech Policy Press this summer, featuring panel of experts– all based in India– including Neeti Biyani, Policy and Advocacy Manager, Internet Society; Tejasi Panjiar, Associate Policy Counsel, Internet Freedom Foundation; and Apar Gupta, Executive Director, Internet Freedom Foundation.
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Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press, a new nonprofit media venture concerned with the intersection of technology and democracy. Previously, he was Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. He spent over a decade at The Economist in roles including Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. He is an associate research scientist and adjunct professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Opinions expressed here are his own.