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Virtual Talk: “What Would Benjamin Franklin Think About Facebook?”

May 28, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Professor Amy WerbelBenjamin Franklin postage stamp

Amy Werbel, History of Art Professor and Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom, will deliver—online—the 2020 Annual Fulbright Lecture at the Benjamin Franklin House in London, titled “What Would Benjamin Franklin Think About Facebook?”

As both a publisher and postmaster, Benjamin Franklin frequently had to confront the vexing challenge of squaring the ideals of truth and liberty with the realities of immorality and the threat of harm to private and public interests. While he advocated fiercely for the rights of journalists, Franklin also committed himself to restricting material from his publications that “might countenance Vice, or promote Immorality,” as well as “such things as might do real Injury to any person.” Always, he worried that “an evil magistrate intrusted with power to punish for words would be armed with a weapon the most destructive and terrible.” As we ponder the prospect of greater censorship of social media, Franklin’s experiences and views shed necessary light on our best path forward in tumultuous times.

This online event is free and open to the public, but registration is required; register here


Amy Werbel
(212) 217-4640