Politics & Polls #86: The Internet’s Dark Side

Apr 11, 2018
B. Rose Kelly
Woodrow Wilson School

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress this week, answering questions about the platform’s use of personal data. The social media giant has been under fire regarding the spread of fake news on the platform throughout the 2016 U.S. elections, and revelations surrounding the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which harvested the data of 87 million Facebook users.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer discusses Zuckerberg’s testimony and the power of the internet in politics with award-winning journalist David Kushner.

A contributing editor to Rolling Stone, Kushner has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, The New York Times Magazine and GQ, and has been an essayist for National Public Radio. His books include “Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture,” and “Jonny Magic and the Card Shark Kids: How a Gang of Geeks Beat the Odds,” among others.


Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is also a CNN Political Analyst and columnist for the Atlantic. He is the author of several books including, most recently, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society," which was just awarded the DB Hardeman Prize for the Best Book on Congress. He has edited and authored 19 books on American political history and published over 700 hundred op-eds, including his popular weekly column on CNN.com.

Wang is professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. He is known for his books "Welcome to Your Brain" and "Welcome to Your Child's Brain" and for his founding role at the Princeton Election Consortium, a blog providing U.S. election analyses. In 2004, Wang was one of the first to aggregate U.S. presidential polls using probabilistic methods. He has also developed new statistical standards for partisan gerrymandering. A neuroscientist, Wang's academic research focuses on the neuroscience of learning, the cerebellum.