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June 08, 2021 CBA-CRSJ Webinar Series

Social Media: Challenges and Opportunities in Free Speech

Freedom of speech is protected in both the United States and Canada. However, the growing role of social media in public discourse is challenging traditional views of legal protections and reshaping the landscape of free speech in both countries. The second webinar of this three-part series explores these changes. The questions considered are:

  • Have the US elections and the COVID-19 pandemic challenged the idea of social media as venues for unfettered expression?
  • Should social media platforms be arbiters of truth and morality?
  • Does public pressure influence social media regulation of content?
  • Is social media reshaping societal norms in relation to free expression?
  • Should candidates for public office and officeholders be subject to different rules of engagement?


  • Michele Austin, Head, Public Policy (Canada), Twitter
  • Paul M. Barrett, Deputy Director, NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights; Adjunct Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
  • Vivek Krishnamurthy, Samuelson-Glushko Professor of Law and Director, Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law
  • Taylor Owen, Beaverbrook Chair in Media, Ethics and Communications and Associate Professor, Max Bell School of Public Policy, McGill University; Director, Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy; Host, Big Tech


  • Heather Hettiarachchi, Founder, Integritas Workplace Law Corporation; Chair, CBA Constitutional and Human Rights Law Section
  • Claire Rajan, Senior Counsel, Allen & Overy LLP; Co-Chair, Free Speech and Free Press Committee, ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Joint Sponsor: CBA Constitutional and Human Rights Law Section


Transcript: Social Media: Challenges and Opportunities in Free Speech

M-RCBG Faculty Working Paper Series No. 2021-02 Recommendations to the Biden Administration On Regulating Disinformation and Other Harmful Content on Social Media

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