Berger Speaker Series with David Sloss - Tyrants on Twitter: Protecting Democracies from Information Warfare
From Lindsey Mulholland
On Wednesday, February 16th, 2022 David L. Sloss joined us to lead a virtual seminar entitled Tyrants on Twitter: Protecting Democracies from Information Warfare, based on his book of the same name. Mr. Sloss was introduced by Dean Jens Ohlin.
About the seminar:
When Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram were first introduced to the public, their mission was simple: they were designed to help people become more connected to each other. Social media became a thriving digital space by giving its users the freedom to share whatever they wanted with their friends and followers. Unfortunately, these same digital tools are also easy to manipulate. As exemplified by Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, authoritarian states can exploit social media to interfere with democratic governance in open societies.
Tyrants on Twitter is the first detailed analysis of how Chinese and Russian agents weaponize Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to subvert the liberal international order. In addition to examining the 2016 U.S. election, David L. Sloss explores Russia's use of foreign influence operations to threaten democracies in Europe, as well as China's use of social media and other digital tools to meddle in Western democracies and buttress autocratic rulers around the world.
Sloss calls for cooperation among democratic governments to create a new transnational system for regulating social media to protect Western democracies from information warfare. Drawing on his professional experience as an arms control negotiator, he outlines a novel system of transnational governance that Western democracies can enforce by harmonizing their domestic regulations. And drawing on his academic expertise in constitutional law, he explains why that system—if implemented by legislation in the United States—would be constitutionally defensible, despite likely First Amendment objections. This book is essential reading in a time when disinformation campaigns threaten to undermine democracy.
About David L. Sloss:
David L. Sloss is the John A. and Elizabeth H. Sutro Professor of Law at Santa Clara University. He is the author of The Death of Treaty Supremacy: An Invisible Constitutional Change (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016) and Tyrants on Twitter: Protecting Democracies from Information Warfare (Stanford Univ. Press, forthcoming 2022). He is the co-editor of International Law in the U.S. Supreme Court: Continuity and Change (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011) and sole editor of The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement: A Comparative Study (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009). He has also published several dozen book chapters and law review articles. His book on the death of treaty supremacy and his edited volume on international law in the U.S. Supreme Court both won prestigious book awards from the American Society of International Law. Professor Sloss is a member of the American Law Institute and a Counsellor to the American Society of International Law. His scholarship is informed by extensive government experience. Before entering academia, he spent nine years in the federal government, where he worked on U.S.-Soviet arms control negotiations and nuclear proliferation issues.
About Dean Jens Ohlin:
Jens Ohlin became the Allan R. Tessler Dean on July 1, 2021. He previously served as Interim Dean (January-June 2021), Vice Dean (2017-2020), Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (2015-2017), and Director of Faculty Research (2013-2015).
His scholarly work stands at the intersection of four related fields: criminal law, criminal procedure, public international law, and the laws of war. Trained as both a lawyer and a philosopher, his research has tackled questions as diverse as criminal conspiracy and the punishment of collective criminal action, the philosophical foundations of international law, and the role of new technologies in warfare, including cyberwar, remotely piloted drones, and autonomous weapons.