In Stanford speech Obama speaks about misinformation and how it threatens democracy

In his speech, Obama contrasted the original internet to today’s online landscape, identified the missteps of social media companies and issued direct calls to action for government, tech companies and Stanford students. 

The energy Thursday morning was palpable on Stanford University’s campus. Students gathered outside GSB’s CEMEX auditorium, their hands gripping tightly to their phones, hoping to capture the moment of a lifetime: a selfie with the former president.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the keynote address as part of Stanford’s Cyber Police Institute’s Challenges to Democracy in the Digital Information Realm symposium on Apr. 21.

The 44th President spoke of disinformation’s threat to democracy at home and abroad to a packed auditorium.

“We’re living through another tumultuous, dangerous moment,” he said.

In his speech, Obama contrasted the original internet to today’s online landscape, identified the missteps of social media companies and issued direct calls to action for government, tech companies and Stanford students. 

Addressing the students and Silicon Valley directly, he called for more tech company accountability, arguing that regulation and innovation are not mutually exclusive.

“To the employees of these companies and to the students here at Stanford, who might well be a future employee of these companies, you have the power to move things in the right direction. You can advocate for change,” he said.

In this podcast, we discuss some of the strategies Obama outlined to mitigate the spread of misinformation. Our video looks at the causes for the misinformation, highlighting different points from Obama’s speech. 

Watch the full live stream here

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