Social Media

Taylor Lorenz on Gen Z, Influencer Culture, and the Future of Social Media (Samantha Lai, Brookings)

Social media has become a hot topic over recent months, as the failure of companies to handle algorithmic discrimination, the spread of misinformation and the exploitation of children have translated to adverse societal harms. However, when considering how to regulate and resolve existing problems, it is interesting to examine how teens, the most tech-savvy population of all, have been navigating the internet. Which social media platforms do Gen-Zers prefer, and how do they navigate platform algorithms? How have online influencers played a part fighting back against vaccine misinformation and other societal injustices? What is the influencer industry, and in what ways are young influencers vulnerable to burnout and exploitation by social media companies and talent agencies?

To answer these questions, Samantha Lai will be joined by Taylor Lorenz, technology reporter for the New York Times and affiliate at the Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, to discuss how young people use the internet and why it matters.

TechTank Podcast Episode 34: Taylor Lorenz on Gen Z, Influencer Culture, and the Future of Social Media (

Social Media Technology

History explains why global content moderation cannot work December (Heidi Tworek, Brookings)

Social media platforms face an all but impossible challenge: generating standards for acceptable speech that transcend borders and apply universally. From nudity and sexual content to hate speech and violent material, digital platforms have tried to write rules and build content-moderation regimes that apply around the world. That these regimes have struggled to meet their goals, however, should come as no surprise: The global speech standards authored by online platforms are not the first time that tech innovators have tried to write global rules for speech. Unfortunately, the history of attempts to write such rules does not bode well for contemporary efforts to build global content-moderation regimes. From telegraphic codes to the censorship of prurient material, the promise of globally consistent standards have long been plagued by important—and to some extent inevitable—linguistic and contextual differences.

History explains why global content moderation cannot work (