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Newsletter - January 2023

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2023! I hope you had a great holiday season and are having a good start to the new year.

This month I turned my attention to social media safety.

On New Year's Day, "Meet the Press" devoted their entire program to this topic, and Issue One recently launched the Council for Responsible Social Media. The Council's launch event is posted on YouTube, and I took the time to watch much of it.

There is strong bipartisan agreement that social media reforms are needed, but there is no consensus on what those reforms should be. The right typically focuses on free speech, and the left typically focuses on misinformation.

Key takeaways for me:

  • Social media companies are driven by growth, which is measured in large part by number of clicks

  • The most extreme posts generate the most clicks

  • Algorithms accentuate the prominence of posts that get the most clicks

  • Social media companies lie somewhere in-between publishers and a message board, with broad protection and limited regulation

  • Although there is no easy solution, inaction is not an option

This issue calls for a shared commitment to problem solving, involving all stakeholders, including social media users, social media executives, technology experts, members of the media, and legislators. I am very pleased to see that the Council for Responsible Social Media has representation from each of these groups, including members of both political parties.

I will continue to remain actively engaged on this topic. I believe that if done correctly, social media reforms can help these platforms be a viable source for accurate and unbiased voter information.

In other news:

  • There were technical difficulties that prevented many registrants, including me, from attending Angie Holan's webinar for ASQ's Government Division on "Fact-checking Journalism and Fact-Checking to Improve Information Quality." Fortunately, it has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 8 at 12 PM ET.

  • The Center for Electoral Quality and Integrity is continuing its work to partner with voters, election officials, and good government organizations to establish an objective framework for "easy to vote and hard to cheat" from the voters' perspective. We are establishing strong working relationships with many experts in the field and hope to launch a public facing website and have an associated press release in a manner of weeks.

Have a great month and take care.


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