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Lies, Bots, and Social Media: What is Coemputational Propaganda and How Do We Defeat It?

  • 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building (map)

From the latest revelations about Facebook to ongoing concerns over the integrity of online information, the U.S. public has never been more vulnerable or exposed to computational propaganda: the threat posed by sophisticated botnets able to post, comment on, and influence social media and other web outlets to generate a desired outcome or simply sow distrust and disorder.

What can be done to confront and defeat these malevolent actors before they dominate civil discourse on the Internet? One possibility is the use of algorithmic signal reading which displays for users the geographic origin of a given post. Another answer may lie in improving how websites like Facebook curate their content, so the user can make more informed choices.

At this Helsinki Commission briefing, distinguished experts will examine the implications of computational propaganda on national and international politics and explore options available to Congress and the private sector to confront and negate its pernicious influence.

Expert panelists scheduled to participate include:

  • Matt Chessen, Acting Deputy Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State

  • Karen Kornbluh, Senior Fellow and Director, Technology Policy Program, The German Marshall Fund of the United States

  • Nina Jankowicz, Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Kennan Institute

For more information, please contact Mark Toner of the Commission staff at 202-225-1901 or via e-mail at Mark.Toner@mail.house.gov