Democracy Forum 2/18/22: Facebook and Democracy: Can They Live Together?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

-How Facebook has transformed our political life. It’s not just Facebook, is it?
-How has it polarized our political identities?
-How has it become so central to our community and political life?
-What threats does it pose to democracy?
-What did the Facebook Papers tell us?
-What are the possible solutions?


Jessica Brandt, policy director for the Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative at the Brookings Institution and a fellow in the Foreign Policy program’s Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology.

Judith Rosenbaum, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine.

To learn more about this topic:

Facebook Has a Superuser-Supremacy Problem – The Atlantic, February, 2022

Opinion | The Platform Accountability and Transparency Act is a small step toward solving our social media woes – The Washington Post Editorial January 2022

Autocracy Is Winning – The Atlantic. Anne Applebaum, December 2021

How to fix social media? Start with independent research, Brookings, December 1, 2021

The internet is a battleground. Will democracies win?, Brookings, December 1, 2021

The Facebook Papers, explained – The Washington Post, October, 2021

Facebook Is an Authoritarian State – The Atlantic, September 2021

How to Put Out Democracy’s Dumpster Fire – The Atlantic, April 2021

The Internet Doesn’t Have to Be Awful – Anne Applebaum, March, 2021

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, by Shoshana Zuboff, January. 2019

Political polarization on Facebook, Brookings, May 2015

Prerecorded on 2/15/2022 using Zoom technology.

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:

Martha Dickinson
Starr Gilmartin
Maggie Harling
Ann Luther
Judith Lyles
Wendilee O’Brien
Maryann Ogonowski
Pam Person
Lane Sturtevant
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.