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:
Advocate for key policies and legislation with the Biden Administration, on Capitol Hill, and in select state legislatures across the country.
Publicly pressure social media platforms to make meaningful platform and internal governance changes.
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.
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.
Develop and strategically distribute powerful written and video content about the harms caused by social media.
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”
Kristin Bride Social media reform advocate
John Bridgeland Founder and Executive Chair, More Perfect, Former Director, White House Domestic Policy Council
Cheri Bustos Fmr. U.S. Congresswoman (D-IL)
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
Timothy Dalrymple President and CEO of Christianity Today
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
Yael Eisenstat Vice President at the Anti-Defamation League, head of the Center for Technology & Society
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
Steve Israel Fmr. Congressman (D-NY), Director of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University
Herb Lin Senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at Stanford University
Nathaniel Lubin Fmr. Director of the Office of Digital Strategy at the White House
Mary Mazzio Documentary Filmmaker
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)
Zamaan Qureshi The Real Facebook Oversight Board
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 Associate Professor of the Practice of Health Services, Policy, and Practice at Brown
Jamie Susskind Best-selling author and barrister
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
Danny Weiss Chief Advocacy Officer at Common Sense Media
Tom Wheeler Fmr. Chair of the Federal Communications Commission
Isabelle Frances Wright Executive Director of Vote For Freedom, 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.