WXXI AM News

social media

From former President Trump to cheerleaders in small towns, Americans have questions about what rights they have when it comes to freedom of expression on various media platforms. And, given how much of our speech winds up in the public sphere, there are questions about privacy.

Attorney Scott Malouf takes us through the latest developments in the law and the public discourse on these issues. Our guest:

How do your store your data? Hard drives? The cloud? A local inventor says a device he created is indestructible and will make your data available in perpetuity. It’s called Totenpass, and it’s constructed from solid gold. Inventor Bruce Ha says not only can the device withstand fire and other natural elements, it also eliminates future dependence on the internet or the cloud when it comes to saving precious digital files. Ha has concerns about who owns content when it’s uploaded to the cloud or to sites like Facebook or Twitter. How can you protect your own information?

This hour, we discuss data storage and ownership with our guests:

  • Bruce Ha, inventor, entrepreneur, creator of Totenpass, and founder and CEO of Stamper Technology, Inc.
  • Scott Malouf, attorney whose practice focuses on the intersection of social media and the law

On Wednesday, the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google got into heated exchanges with members of Congress during a hearing about free speech online. Section 230 is a set of federal laws that prevents social media sites from being held liable for content they allow or remove from their sites.

Democrats and Republicans differ on where they stand regarding how and to what extent the companies should patrol their sites. The companies' decisions are fluid. Recently, Twitter blocked an unsubstantiated New York Post piece about Hunter Biden; it later reversed its decision and allowed users to share it. 

This hour, we're joined by an attorney who specializes in the intersection of social media and the law. He discusses how Section 230 and debates about how content is shared or not shared online impacts free speech, the state of journalism, and democracy. We also discuss issues pertaining to privacy, regulation, and more. Our guest:

  • Scott Malouf, attorney whose practice is focused on the intersection of social media and the law

Would you be offended if you were uninvited to a wedding during the pandemic? Thousands of couples have had to decide whether to postpone their weddings or scale them down dramatically. One couple's reformatted invitation went viral, touching off a debate about pandemic etiquette and the new normal.

Our guests discuss everything from pandemic weddings to internet outrage and public shaming. Our guests:

On Thursday, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at limiting liability protections for some social media companies. The move comes just days after Twitter fact-checked and labeled two of his tweets as inaccurate. According to NPR, legal experts say it's unlikely that the order will have any practical effect on tech giants like Twitter. Meanwhile, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called out Twitter for its fact-checking, saying Facebook won't be "arbiters of truth." What does all of this mean for the platforms, for users, for free speech, and for democracy?

Our guests explore the issues. They also discuss how social media and journalism have changed as a result of the pandemic. Our guests:

Experts in the legal field are warning consumers about scams and fraudulent online tools that target vulnerable populations and essential workers during the pandemic. From tip scamming, to meal price inflation by delivery services, to charity and phishing scams, attorneys say there's a lot to look out for. The New York State Attorney General has launched an effort to combat such scams.

This hour, our guests share what they think consumers need to know. Our guests:

  • Scott Malouf, local attorney whose practice is focused on the intersection of social media and the law
  • Mike Johansson, senior lecturer of communication at RIT, and social media consultant at Fixitology
  • Letitia James, New York State Attorney General 

How do you measure authenticity online? In this hour, we explore how we present ourselves in various online spaces. What’s real? What’s the true measure of self? What’s performative?

The New Yorker recently explored the rise in “getting real” posts on Instagram, in which so-called “influencers” write self-flagellating posts about the lies they’ve been living, or the inauthentic and forced posts about happy travels and sunsets. But even the “getting real” posts can be inauthentic; they’ve become so popular that there is demand for ostensible authenticity. Who can tell what’s real anymore? Our guests debate it:

  • Elise Miklich, social media specialist, and owner of Light Within Candle Company
  • Emily Hessney Lynch, digital strategist, and founder of Serve Me the Sky Digital
  • Rashad Smith, creative strategist for WLGZ The Beat, and visionary of Power Hour
  • Kate Meyers Emery, manager for digital engagement at the George Eastman Museum, and Finger Lakes wine educator

Author and social commentator Phoebe Maltz Bovy offered a stinging critique of dating culture in 2020, and it has sparked debate about the new norms of dating. Maltz Bovy is particularly troubled by the shaming that can go viral on social media.

But her concerns opened up conversation about other changing norms, including questions about when it's appropriate to ask someone out in person; taking no for an answer; and more. Our guests discuss it. In studio:

  • Allison O’Malley, domestic violence prevention advocate and educator
  • Megan Barrett, certified sex therapist with the Rochester Center for Sexual Wellness
  • Jessica Lewis, creator of Single Dope Black Chick
  • Aliza Leit, junior at the College of the Atlantic in Maine
  • Regan Wagner, senior at Nazareth College

U.S. General Services Administration

As new social media networks continue to emerge, and the number of people using them continues to rise -- TikTok added more than 500 million users this year -- they've begun to affect how people spend the holidays.

Mike Johansson, a principal lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s school of communication, said virtual communities can be a threat to real-life experiences.

What is Facebook's role when it comes to vetting news stories and political ads? Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Mark Zuckerberg recently debated the issue. Facebook’s current policy for political ads allows politicians to lie, and it doesn’t fact-check, but recent cases have tested the limits of that policy, and Facebook has made exceptions. Meanwhile, Twitter has decided to ban all political ads in advance of the 2020 election. 

This hour, our guests discuss the issues, free speech, and the impact social media has on shaping public opinion. In studio:

  • Mike Johansson, social media teacher and strategist in Rochester
  • Scott Malouf, attorney whose practice is focused on the intersection of social media and the law

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