On May 4th, in front of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, Nate Persily, James B. McClatchy Professor Of Law and codirector of the Stanford Cyber Poicy Center called upon the Subcomittee to enact legislation to ensure data relevant to contemporary social problems is unlocked, so researchers can study how big these problems are and seek to solve them. Platforms, he said, "have lost their right to secrecy. Their power over the information ecosystem is unrivalled in world history." The time has come for that to change.
Daphne Keller, Director of the Program on Platform Regulation also offered testimony, speaking to the need for attention to the multiple languages and multiple cultural contexts present in all social media. Fundamentally though, she said, we cannot track bias patterns without knowing what content was taken down, left up or demoted. And that's something we can't do without transparency. "If researchers can't see that, then the platforms are grading their own homework. Researchers can't see if there is a pattern of bias or they are making mistakes."
The full submitted testimony of Keller and Persily, as well as a link to a recording of the hearing can be found below: