Tyrants on Twitter: Protecting Democracies from Information Warfare

Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society presents: 


Tyrants on Twitter

Protecting Democracies from Information Warfare 


David L. Sloss


Wednesday, April 13, 2022
at 11:30 ET


Watch The Video Now


Join us for a conversation with Professor David L. Sloss around Tyrants On Twitter, his upcoming book offering a look inside the weaponization of social media, and an innovative proposal for protecting Western democracies from information warfare.  

When Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram were first introduced to the public, their mission was simple: they were designed to help people become more connected to each other. Social media became a thriving digital space by giving its users the freedom to share whatever they wanted with their friends and followers. Unfortunately, these same digital tools are also easy to manipulate. As exemplified by Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, authoritarian states can exploit social media to interfere with democratic governance in open societies. 

Tyrants On Twitter is the first detailed analysis of how Chinese and Russian agents weaponize Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to subvert the liberal international order. In addition to examining the 2016 U.S. election, David L. Sloss explores Russia's use of foreign influence operations to threaten democracies in Europe, as well as China's use of social media and other digital tools to meddle in Western democracies and buttress autocratic rulers around the world. 

David Sloss calls for cooperation among democratic governments to create a new transnational system for regulating social media to protect Western democracies from information warfare. Drawing on his professional experience as an arms control negotiator, he outlines a novel system of transnational governance that Western democracies can enforce by harmonizing their domestic regulations. And drawing on his academic expertise in constitutional law, he explains why that system—if implemented by legislation in the United States—would be constitutionally defensible, despite likely First Amendment objections. With its critical examination of information warfare and its proposal for practical legislative solutions to fight back, this book is essential reading in a time when disinformation campaigns threaten to undermine democracy. 


The conversation will be facilitated by Professor Vivek Krishnamurthy, a CLTS faculty member and Director of Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC).


About the Speaker 

David L. Sloss is the John A. and Elizabeth H. Sutro Professor of Law at Santa Clara University. He is the author of The Death of Treaty Supremacy: An Invisible Constitutional Change (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016) and Tyrants on Twitter: Protecting Democracies from Information Warfare (Stanford Univ. Press, forthcoming 2022). He is the co-editor of International Law in the U.S. Supreme Court: Continuity and Change (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011) and sole editor of The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement: A Comparative Study (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009).  

He has also published several dozen book chapters and law review articles. His book on the death of treaty supremacy and his edited volume on international law in the U.S. Supreme Court both won prestigious book awards from the American Society of International Law. Professor Sloss is a member of the American Law Institute and a Counsellor to the American Society of International Law. His scholarship is informed by extensive government experience. Before entering academia, he spent nine years in the federal government, where he worked on U.S.-Soviet arms control negotiations and nuclear proliferation issues. 



Professor Vivek Krishnamurthy is a Faculty member at the Centre for Law, Technology and Society and the Samuelson-Glushko Professor of Law within the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, at the University of Ottawa, where he is the Director of the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC). 


This event will be in English only.
This event will be recorded.


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