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Renée DiResta
Renée DiResta

Stanford Internet Observatory

Co-hosted by Cornell Tech's James Grimmelmann

From Civics to COVID: Dynamics of Misinformation


From July to January of 2020, Stanford Internet Observatory researchers worked with a coalition of researchers, government entities, tech companies, and civil society organizations in a multi-stakeholder partnership called the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP). Its mission was to rapidly detect high-velocity and potentially impactful false and misleading narratives related to voting. This talk will discuss findings from the partnership: how incidents became narratives, the rise of bottom-up misinformation, the dynamics of repeat spreaders, and the way in which platform policies shape message propagation. It will also discuss the mechanisms of the EIP itself and the way in which such a model might be applied more broadly, including towards health misinformation.


Renée DiResta is the technical research manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, a cross-disciplinary program of research, teaching and policy engagement for the study of abuse in current information technologies. Renee investigates the spread of malign narratives across social networks, and assists policymakers in devising responses to the problem. Renee has studied influence operations and computational propaganda in the context of pseudoscience conspiracies, terrorist activity, and state-sponsored information warfare, and has advised Congress, the State Department, and other academic, civil society, and business organizations on the topic. At the behest of SSCI, she led one of the two research teams that produced comprehensive assessments of the Internet Research Agency’s and GRU’s influence operations targeting the U.S. from 2014-2018.

Renée regularly writes and speaks about the role that tech platforms and curatorial algorithms play in the proliferation of disinformation and conspiracy theories. She is an Ideas contributor at Wired. Her tech industry writing, analysis, talks, and data visualizations have been featured or covered by numerous media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Yale Review, Fast Company, Politico, TechCrunch, Wired, Slate, Forbes, Buzzfeed, The Economist, Journal of Commerce, and more. She is a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar, a 2019 Truman National Security Project security fellow, and a Council on Foreign Relations term member.

Renée is the author of The Hardware Startup: Building your Product, Business, and Brand, published by O’Reilly Media.

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