This Post Has Been Flagged: Free Speech & Social Media

Ideas on Tap is a series of "pint-sized conversations about big ideas." Join us for drinks, appetizers, and conversation in a pub setting.

Why should misinformation be protected under the Constitution? Don't we need laws to ensure that citizens receive truthful information? If you are living in an authoritarian country, the answer is easy–the state determines what is true and what is false. But in our democracy, the burden for filtering out truth from falsehood falls on each of us. This discussion examines the 1964 case New York Times v. Sullivan that protects newspapers from libel suits, even when they publish "erroneous statements," and its consequences. We’ll consider the reasoning behind the Sullivan ruling, how journalists depend on its protection, and what would happen should it be overturned. Rather than endorsing one side of the argument, can we work together to create animated yet productive public debates?

Cost is $15 per person and includes appetizers and one beverage (beer, wine, or non-alcoholic drink) in the relaxed atmosphere of the Stark Brewing Co. in downtown Manchester.


Anna Brown, Director of Research & Analysis, Citizens Count

Tim Kelly, Executive Editor, New Hampshire Union Leader

Will Stewart, Manchester Alderman, ward 2


Meg Mott, Ph.D.

Suggested reading:

The 1960 Advertisement in the New York Times that was provoked the lawsuit

The 1964 Supreme Court unanimous decision as it appeared in the New York Times

This series was made possible by the Mellon Foundation.

Who should regulate online speech—states or social media companies?

This spring, Texas passed a law preventing companies like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok from discriminating against online expression by removing content, generating broader questions about states’ powers to regulate speech on social media platforms. In court, these tech companies argued that the law was unconstitutional because they exercise editorial discretion, as publishers, protected under the First Amendment. While the Supreme Court blocked the law from taking effect in an emergency ruling, the case has been appealed, and continues to make its way through the courts. The final decision will carry significant implications for proposed legislation in other states, including New Hampshire.

At this Ideas on Tap, we’ll unpack these tangled issues in conversation with legal experts and legislature watchers. Our panelists will help us think about states’ obligations to their citizens, whether they can regulate social media companies, and if state laws can limit companies’ First Amendment rights.

Ideas on Tap is a series of "pint-sized conversations about big ideas." Join us for drinks, appetizers, and conversation in a casual pub setting.

Cost is $15 per person and includes appetizers and one beverage (beer, wine, or non-alcoholic drink) in the relaxed atmosphere of Feathered Friend Brewing in downtown Concord.


Justin Silverman is executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. Silverman is a former journalist and a current Massachusetts-based attorney. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Maine School of Law and New England Law | Boston.

Professor John Greabe directs the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership & Public Service and is a professor of law at the UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law. Professor Greabe teaches constitutional law, civil procedure, and related courses. His scholarship focuses on constitutional law, federal courts, and civil rights litigation. Professor Greabe also writes a periodic columns on the developments in constitutional law for the Concord Monitor and New Hampshire Bulletin. Professor Greabe previously taught at Vermont Law School and clerked for 17 years for a number of appeals and district court judges within the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Nick Capodice co-hosts NHPR's Civics 101, the podcast refresher course on the basics of how our democracy works. For four years he and Hannah McCarthy have interviewed hundreds of scholars, politicians, judges and teachers to break down the fundamentals of our government. Nick and Hannah also wrote A User's Guide to Democracy: How America Works, an illustrated primer on civics. Nick lives in Concord, where he cooks Sichuan food and talks way too much about board games.

Anna Brown, is Director of Research & Analysis at Citizens Count, a nonprofit dedicated to providing unbiased information about New Hampshire issues and candidates. In her current role she is responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing the roughly 2,000 bills and 1,000 candidates that move through New Hampshire every two years. She co-hosts the podcast $100 Plus Mileage, a joint project with the Granite State News Collaborative, covering lesser-known legislation before the New Hampshire General Court. She is also a regular guest and subject matter expert on New Hampshire politics for NHPBS, NH Public Radio, and other media outlets. She received her master’s degree in justice studies from the University of New Hampshire.


Meg Mott, Ph.D., Professor of Politics Emerita and Town Moderator, Putney, VT. After twenty years of teaching political theory and constitutional law to Marlboro College undergraduates, Meg Mott has taken her love of argument to the general public. She attended the University of New Hampshire in the 1970s and is currently teaching at Keene State College. Meg’s award-winning series Debating Our Rights on the first ten amendments brings civil discussions on contentious issues to public libraries and colleges.

Additional Resources:

New York Passes Ridiculous, Likely Unconstitutional, Bill Requiring Websites To Have ‘Hateful Conduct’ Policies” by Mike Masnick in Techdirt

Supreme Court blocks Texas social media law from taking effect” by Nina Totenberg and Bobby Allyn from NPR

An appeals court finds Florida's social media law unconstitutional” from the Associated Press

The Short Life & Curious Death of Free Speech in America by Ellis Cose

"Social Media and Public Health: A Conversation Featuring State Attorneys General," We The People Podcast from the National Constitution Center 

This series was made possible by the Mellon Foundation.

View the printed program

Event Details


Monday, June 27, 2022 5:30pm


Feathered Friend Brewing
231 South Main Street
Concord NH 03301

Hosted By:

New Hampshire Humanities

Contact Info:

Catherine Winters, Ph.D., or call (603) 224-4071.