Facing the Facts: Disinformation in the U.S. Election
Friday, October 9, 2020 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST
In order for democracies to guarantee free and fair elections, citizens must have access to reliable information about the candidates for whom they will cast their votes. However, though it is easier than ever to find political content in today’s digital age, there is an increasing chance that the information voters encounter online has been falsified or misconstrued by foreign governments, non-state actors, or even the candidates themselves. How do disinformation campaigns spread so rapidly, and what effect are they having on the 2020 United States Presidential Election? Tune in for a timely discussion of these questions on Friday, October 9th, from 12 PM to 1 PM EST, when we are joined by Yaël Eisenstat, Visiting Fellow at Cornell Tech’s Digital Life Initiative, and Nina Jankowicz, Disinformation Fellow at The Wilson Center.
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Yaël is a Visiting Fellow at Cornell Tech’s Digital Life Initiative, where she works on technology’s effects on civil discourse and democracy and teaches a graduate course on “Tech, Media and Democracy.” In 2018, she was Facebook’s Global Head of Elections Integrity Operations for political ads. Previously, she spent 18 years working around the globe as a CIA officer, a national security advisor to Vice President Biden, a diplomat, a corporate social responsibility strategist at ExxonMobil, and the head of a global risk firm. Yaël works with governments, tech companies, and investors focused on the intersection of ethics, tech, and policy, including as a Researcher-in-Residence at Betalab, an early-stage cohort-based investment program with the singular goal of catalyzing startup activity around “Fixing The Internet”.
Yaël has become a key voice and public advocate for transparency and accountability in tech, particularly where the real-world-consequences affect democracy and societies around the world. Her recent TED talk addresses these issues and proposes ideas for how government and society should hold the companies accountable. Her other press on the subject and a more complete bio are found on her website.
Nina Jankowicz studies the intersection of democracy and technology in Central and Eastern Europe. She is the author of How To Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict (Bloomsbury/IBTauris). Ms. Jankowicz has advised the Ukrainian government on strategic communications under the auspices of a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship. Her writing has been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and others. She is a frequent television and radio commentator on disinformation and Russian and Eastern European affairs. Prior to her Fulbright grant in Ukraine, Ms. Jankowicz managed democracy assistance programs to Russia and Belarus at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. She received her MA in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and her BA from Bryn Mawr College.
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