The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Brian Scully on Government Response to Disinformation

presented by Brian Scully, Oumou Ly

We’re focused on what we call coun­ter­ing for­eign influ­ence but real­ly what we’re try­ing to do is build nation­al resilience to for­eign influ­ence activ­i­ties. And so for us a lot of what we do is pub­lic edu­ca­tion and pub­lic aware­ness out­reach to dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties, pro­vide resources that folks can use to bet­ter under­stand both the risk and then ways to mit­i­gate the risk.

The Breakdown: Claire Wardle on Journalism and Disinformation

presented by Claire Wardle, Oumou Ly

I think those of us who study and think about mis- and dis­in­for­ma­tion, it’s very tempt­ing to study what’s in front of us. And so there’s a dis­pro­por­tion­ate focus on Twitter, because it’s the eas­i­est to study because there’s an open API—although, caveats—and Facebook. That’s a lot of the places that we study. And sim­i­lar­ly, that’s a lot of the places that jour­nal­ists look for con­tent and sources and sto­ries. And so we end up kind of real­ly just think­ing about that as the prob­lem,” when actu­al­ly we need to think about the full ecosys­tem.

The Breakdown: eve­lyn douek on Doctored Media, Platform Response and Responsibility

presented by evelyn douek, Oumou Ly

The ques­tion also does come up, you know, is there any­thing real­ly new here, with these new tech­nolo­gies? Disinformation is as old as infor­ma­tion. Manipulated media is as old as media. Is there some­thing par­tic­u­lar­ly harm­ful about this new infor­ma­tion envi­ron­ment and these new tech­nolo­gies, these hyper­re­al­is­tic false depic­tions, that we need to be espe­cial­ly wor­ried about?

The Breakdown: Renée DiResta on Misinformation and COVID-19

presented by Oumou Ly, Renée DiResta

It’s been real­ly inter­est­ing to see the entire world pay atten­tion to one top­ic. This is some­thing some­what unprece­dent­ed. We have had out­breaks in the era of social media mis­in­for­ma­tion before. Zika in 2015, Ebola 2018, right. So there have been a range of moments in which dis­eases have cap­ti­vat­ed pub­lic atten­tion. But usu­al­ly they tend to stay at least some­what geo­graph­i­cal­ly con­fined in terms of atten­tion.