Boston Debate League

BDL Joins The Social Dilemma Debate Project

February 23, 2022 | By Sara Gill

Should Existing Social Media Laws Be Reformed?

On September 28, 2021, Henderson High School debaters Xyra Mercer and Richemie Chery debated this topic against students from Washington DC Urban Dbeate League.

The WUDL team proposed that social media should be regulated as a public utility, with a national commission to hold social media accountable. The BDL team held that we don’t need new regulation, but that the current legislation, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, should be reformed by removing some of the immunity currently granted to social media companies and requiring that large companies have stronger human moderation practices in place. To watch the full debate, click here.

This event kicked off The Social Dilemma Debate Project, inspired by the movie The Social Dilemma (available on Netflix) and run by the film’s creators, Exposure Labs, in collaboration with Newsweek and the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL). The Debate Project includes a classroom debate activity and asks students and educators from across the country to record 2-minute-long videos debating potential policy solutions to address the harmful effects of social media’s business model, as exposed by The Social Dilemma. 

“Open and civil debate is a foundational element of this country, and our goal as an organization has always been to encourage the freedom of speech, the importance of dialogue and youth engagement in civil society in order to create stronger leaders and better conditions for tomorrow,” said Rhonda Haynes, Executive Director of NAUDL.

Students and educators can visit to access the free Classroom Debate Resource. From there, students can upload a short video summarizing their proposal for how social media should be regulated. The deadline to upload the videos is March 21, 2022, and up to 5 selected winners will receive a $500 scholarship and be featured on an episode of Newsweek‘s The Debate podcast.

The Social Dilemma Debate Project logo

“The current law was made in 1996…A lot of us, including the two teams that are debating against each other, were nowhere near alive. The Internet looked a lot different back then.”

– Richemie Chery, Debater