Michael Slaby on Trump & Facebook and the Bigger Problem of Reforming the Internet

One of the dominant themes of the last several years, and especially the last year, is the loss of shared truth, a sense in the country that it's increasingly difficult to talk to one another when we disagree. Because increasingly, it seems like people don't know what is true and what is false, and then public debate just becomes a matter of tribalism, where our identity shapes what we believe rather than a more honest attempt to sort through facts and weigh evidence.


This is a major theme of this show now. This year so far, I've interviewed one of the most insightful thinkers and writers on the topic, Peter Pomerantsev, two members of Congress who are fighting disinformation -- Democrat Tom Malinowski and Republican Adam Kinzinger -- and another activist -- David Blankenhorn -- who is trying to get Americans to sit down with others who think differently to try to understand their point of view.


This episode is an interview with a guy who really understands the Internet, and has some pretty granular suggestions about how to fix it. Michael Slaby's book, "For All the People," is a trenchant analysis of what has gone wrong over the past two decades with the internet, and a passionate call for change. He writes for the leaders of private companies, for politicians and policy-makers, and for you and me, the average person who wants to know what we can do today to reclaim more control of our lives from big tech and to help repair our country.


Slaby was chief technology officer on Barack Obama's 2008 reelection campaign, and then oversaw innovation and integration of tech into the entire 2012 campaign. He now runs Harmony Labs, a company working on internet reform implementation at the local scale.


Outro music: "Think Too Much" by Hannah Jadagu


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