The Yale Law Journal

Forum Collection

Envisioning Equitable Online Governance

16 Nov 2021
Internet LawPrivacy

This Collection examines how inequality manifests on social media platforms and in the digital public sphere. Essays analyze how race, gender, and other facets of identity shape people’s experience of and access to the digital public sphere and explore the harms minority groups suffer in these spaces. Several Essays chart paths for legislative reform.

The Forum publishes this Collection in collaboration with the Information Society Project (ISP), including ISP Fellows Elettra Bietti and Adam Posluns, and with the generous support of the Knight Foundation.


Beyond the Public Square: Imagining Digital Democracy

Mary Anne Franks

To create online spaces that do not merely replicate existing hierarchies and reinforce unequal distributions of social, economic, cultural, and political power, we must move beyond the simplistic cliché of the unregulated public square and commit to the hard work of designing for democracy.  


Agonistic Privacy & Equitable Democracy

Scott Skinner-Thompson

Privacy protections play a vital role in disrupting surveillance-caused subordination and should be at the forefront of efforts to reform digital and physical public space. Robust privacy protections empower marginalized groups to safely participate, while increasing heterogeneity within the public …


Platform Realism, Informational Inequality, and Section 230 Reform

Olivier Sylvain

Online companies bear few duties under law to tend to the discrimination that they facilitate or the disinformation that they deliver. Consumers and members of historically marginalized groups are accordingly the likeliest to be harmed. These companies should bear the same, if not more, responsibili…


Language on the Move: “Cancel Culture,” “Critical Race Theory,” and the Digital Public Sphere

Khiara M. Bridges

Scores of people have been talking about “cancel culture” and “Critical Race Theory” recently. However, what people mean when they use the terms varies wildly. This Essay analyzes the role that the digital public sphere has played in generating these examples of language on the move.



Dismantling the “Black Opticon”: Privacy, Race, Equity, and Online Data-Protection Reform

Anita L. Allen

African Americans suffer a discriminatory predicament, a “Black Opticon” of  panoptic oversurveillance, ban-optic exclusion and con-optic predation. The Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, a federal Data Protection Act, and proposed FTC expansions are measured critically against imperatives of ci…