Project

Council for Responsible Social Media

A crosspartisan group of leaders addressing the negative mental, civic, and public health impacts of social media in America.


Social media promised to build a more interconnected, informed world. But now the harms the platforms are causing are exceeding the promise of greater improved conversation and global connectedness, and American democracy is at stake.

These harms are widespread: degraded mental health, especially for our children, growing political polarization, fragile democracies disrupted by propaganda, conspiracy theories going mainstream, and increased distrust of foundational institutions. How is this happening? The simple answer is that the Big Tech companies are operating with no serious accountability or oversight. and they are putting profits above the societal harms to our kids, for our communities, and to U.S. national security.

In the same way that tobacco companies designed purposefully addictive products, marketed those products aggressively to teens and adults, and suppressed research about their product, today’s social media companies are obscuring the truth and preventing change.

We need to adopt significant bipartisan solutions, and that’s exactly what the Council on Responsible Social Media is all about. The Council brings together a multi-sectoral group of leaders who are focused on finding solutions to the technological harms to our kids, communities, and national security. The Council brings together Republicans and Democrats, policymakers and members of the media, impacted communities and key stakeholders to elevate a bipartisan conversation and advance impactful, achievable solutions.

Strategies and Tools

As a unique and unified voice, the Council will change the national conversation around social media reform so it is focused on meaningful, achievable and bipartisan solutions. Here’s how we’ll do it:

  1. Advocate for key policies and legislation with the Biden Administration, on Capitol Hill, and in select state legislatures across the country.
  2. Publicly pressure social media platforms to make meaningful platform and internal governance changes.
  3. Hold bipartisan public hearings — both in-person and virtual — that are open to the press and highlight testimony from parents, pediatricians, child psychologists, national security leaders and tech experts who can shed light on the impact of decisions being made inside the platforms.
  4. Serve as a resource for the media, providing bipartisan insights, information, and quotes. The Council will point reporters and producers to academics, advocates, other stakeholders who also have bipartisan or nonpartisan credibility.
  5. Develop and strategically distribute powerful written and video content about the harms caused by social media.

The Members

  • Co-chair Dick Gephardt
    Fmr. Congressman (D-MO) and Majority Leader
  • Co-chair Kerry Healey
    Former Lieutenant Governor (R) of Massachusetts
  • Danielle Allen
    Professor at Harvard University and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
  • Nora Benavidez
    Senior Counsel and Director, Digital Justice and Civil Rights at Free Press
  • Sophie Beren
    Found and CEO OF the Conversationalist
  • Joel Bervell
    TikTok disinformation specialist, member of White House Healthcare Leaders in Social Media Roundtable, 2021 TikTok “Voice for Change”
  • Susan Coppedge
    Fmr. U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and Executive Director of the Georgia Legal Services Program
  • Jiore Craig
    Head of Digital Integrity at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue
  • Renee DiResta
    Technical Research Manager at Stanford Internet Observatory
  • Linda Douglass
    Fmr. Head of Communications for Bloomberg, Senior Vice President at Atlantic Media, and Communications Director in the White House’s Office of Health Reform
  • Laura Edelson
    Postdoctoral Researcher with Cybersecurity for Democracy at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering
  • Craig Forman
    Fmr. CEO and President of McClatchy
  • Mary Anne Franks
    Professor at the University of Miami School of Law; President and Legislative and Technology Policy Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative
  • Dan Glickman
    Fmr. Secretary of Agriculture and Congressman (D-KS)
  • Nancy Gibbs
    Fmr. Editor of TIME and Director of the Harvard Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • Josh Golin
    Executive Director of Fairplay
  • Porter Goss
    Fmr. Director of the CIA and Congressman (R-FL)
  • Jonathan Haidt
    Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University Stern School of Business, social psychologist, and best-selling author
  • Chuck Hagel
    Fmr. Secretary of Defense & U.S. Senator (R-NE)
  • Tristan Harris
    President and Co-Founder of the Center for Humane Technology
  • Frances Haugen
    Facebook whistleblower and tech expert
  • Eileen Hershenov
    Senior Vice President for Democracy Initiatives at the Anti-Defamation League
  • Steve Israel
    Fmr. Congressman (D-NY), Director of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University
  • Chris Krebs
    Fmr. Director of the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
  • Herb Lin
    Senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at Stanford University
  • Claire McCaskill
    Fmr. U.S. Senator (D-MO)
  • Sean McGarvey
    President of North America's Building Trades Unions
  • Manu Meel
    CEO of BridgeUSA
  • Bill Owens
    Fmr. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Navy Admiral
  • Farah Pandith
    Fmr. Member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, State Department Representative to Muslim Communities, and Director for Middle East regional initiatives for the National Security Council
  • Leon Panetta
    Fmr. Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA, White House Chief of Staff, and Congressman (D-CA)
  • Bruce Patton
    Co-Founder and Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project
  • Anjana Rajan
    Fmr. Chief Technology Officer of Polaris
  • Maria Ressa
    Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and CEO of Rappler
  • Reid Ribble
    Fmr. Congressman (R-WI)
  • Denver Riggelman
    Fmr. Congressman (R-VA) and Senior Staffer to the U.S House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol
  • Michael Rogers
    Fmr. Director of the NSA and U.S. Navy Admiral
  • Vivian Schiller
    Executive Director of Aspen Digital, fmr. President and CEO of NPR, Global Chair of News at Twitter, and General Manager of NYTimes.com
  • Craig Spencer
    Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center
  • Jason Thacker
    Chair of Research in Technology Ethics at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
  • Tommy Thompson
    Fmr. Governor of Wisconsin (R), Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Interim President of the University of Wisconsin System
  • Nicole Tisdale
    Fmr. Director of Domestic Policy for the National Security Council, White House
  • Tom Wheeler
    Fmr. Chair of the Federal Communications Commission
  • Isabelle Wright
    Fmr. Global Election Integrity Policy Lead at TikTok
  • Layla Zaidane
    President and CEO of the Millennial Action Project
Why Issue One?

For a decade, Issue One has been a leading voice in the effort to build a democracy that works for everyone. We have defended our elections against disinformation and disruption, advanced a modern and effective legislative branch, and built broad coalitions to strengthen democracy in the face of rising polarization. In each of these efforts, we have found ourselves pushing back against the destructive influence of social media on our democracy. We have approached this work from a crosspartisan discipline, uniting Republicans, Democrats, and independents in the movement to fix our broken political system — often through high-level bodies of leaders like the ReFormers Caucus, the National Council on Election Integrity, and the Faces of Democracy campaign. Now, Issue One is applying its experience and strengths to bring attention, energy, and bipartisan problem-solving to the challenges posed by social media.