Can the Fight against Disinformation Really Scale?

Note: Presentation times are in Pacific Standard Time (PST).

Tuesday, February 01, 2022 - 10:15 am10:45 am

Gillian "Gus" Andrews, Theorem Media and Front Line Defenders


The past few years have seen a surge of interest and funding in fighting disinformation. Rumors and conspiracy theories have disrupted democratic process from Brazil to India, to the halls of Congress in the United States; they have hobbled the success of the fight against COVID. Many proposed solutions hinge either on "fact-checking" or on using AI to identify and defuse disinformation on a large scale.

We can try to scale the fight against disinformation with machine learning. But what is it that we are trying to scale? Are we certain that hearts and minds can meaningfully be changed at scale? What would that effort look like?

This talk will challenge a key assumption currently made in fighting disinformation: that "trustworthiness" is a property of information, not of the people who spread it, and that trust is a human quality that can be generated at scale. Dr. Andrews will lay out findings from science and technology studies, neurocognitive development, and "new literacies" research to point to best practices and new approaches to the disinformation problem.

Gillian "Gus" Andrews, Theorem Media and Front Line Defenders

Dr. Gillian "Gus" Andrews is a public educator, writer, and researcher whose work focuses on information literacy, security, and privacy. She is known on the cybersecurity speaking circuit for posing thought-provoking questions about the human side of technology. Dr. Andrews’s policy research on cybersecurity has informed work at the US State Department and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and she has been a regularly invited speaker to cadets and staff at the Army Cyber Institute at West Point. Her book, Keep Calm and Log On (MIT Press), offers practical everyday advice for protecting privacy and security online, as well as avoiding disinformation.
@conference {277327,
author = {Gillian "Gus" Andrews},
title = {Can the Fight against Disinformation Really Scale?},
year = {2022},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = feb

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