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The Breakdown: Foreign inter­fer­ence and the US 2020 Election

Not all dis- and mis­in­for­ma­tion is for­eign, so that’s why this is such a large prob­lem because there are many domes­tic actors that engage in dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns as well. So, the nar­ra­tives that we’ve seen across the space come from so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple that some­times it can be hard to tar­get the the prob­lem to one par­tic­u­lar actor or one par­tic­u­lar motive. 

Two Geniuses Walk into a Zoom

I want you to know that they are just path­mak­ers and ‑break­ers in their field. There’s a way in which you’re taught to be a schol­ar and you’re taught to be prag­mat­ic in the choice of your projects, you’re taught to be care­ful in the ways in which you speak in pub­lic, and these two do it bet­ter than any­one I know.

A Pessimist’s Guide to the Future of Technology

In this moment that we’re in today with tech­nol­o­gy, where we’re I think shift­ing final­ly into a mode where it’s pos­si­ble to be crit­i­cal with­out get­ting sneered at, if we kind of look back at the…I don’t know, the opti­mistic aspi­ra­tional­ism that we’ve been using to encounter tech­nol­o­gy in the broad­est sense, and we look back on those moments of the recent past or even the dis­tant past, we can see how we knew how things were going to turn out, actu­al­ly. We just weren’t pay­ing them heed.

The Breakdown: Daphne Keller Explains the Communications Decency Act

The key thing that Congress realized…was that if you want plat­forms to mod­er­ate, you need to give them both of those immu­ni­ties. You can’t just say, You’re free to mod­er­ate, go do it,” you have to also say, And, if you under­take to mod­er­ate but you miss some­thing and there’s you know, defama­tion still on the plat­form or what­ev­er, the fact that you tried to mod­er­ate won’t be held against you.” 

The Breakdown: Brian Scully on Government Response to Disinformation

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 Ideas of John Perry Barlow in Uncertain Times

If you’re look­ing to the ques­tion how can the whole thing be reg­u­lat­ed, how can one get con­trol of this whole envi­ron­ment, so as to cre­ate a world in which those orig­i­nal free­doms that Barlow was talk­ing about are shared by every­one, the answer is you can’t do it.

The Breakdown: Claire Wardle on Journalism and Disinformation

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

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

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.

Watch Your Words

The premise of our project is real­ly that we are sur­round­ed by machines that are read­ing what we write, and judg­ing us based on what­ev­er they think we’re saying. 

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