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Monday, 11 April 2022, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

Social Media, COVID & Ukraine: Fighting Disinformation

Professor Philip Howard

Organised disinformation about the Covid-19 crisis has degraded public understanding of the crisis and threatened the reputation of credible vaccines and health policy. 

This talk looks at the broad structures and recent history of computational propaganda - the use of algorithms, automation and human curation to distribute misleading information over social media. 

Dr Howard reviews the latest evidence about social media use during our current health crisis, and reports on the very latest themes in Russian information operations about its invasion of Ukraine. He discusses the opportunities for using social media to deepen democracy and 'build back better'.

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Phil Howard

Philip N. Howard is a professor and writer. He has written numerous empirical research articles, and published in several disciplines, on the use of digital media for both civic engagement and social control in countries around the world. He is Director of Oxford University’s Programme on Democracy and Technology and a statutory Professor of Internet Studies at Balliol College. He has held senior academic appointments at Columbia, Princeton, Stanford, the University of Washington, and from 2013-15 he helped design and launch a new School of Public Policy at Central European University in Budapest.

The Programme on Democracy and Technology was started by a Consolidator Award from the European Research Council. His projects on digital activism, information access, and modern governance in both democracies and authoritarian regimes have been supported by the National Science Foundation, US Institutes of Peace, and Intel’s People and Practices Group. He has published ten books and over 130 academic articles, book chapters, conference papers, and commentary essays on information technology, international affairs, and public life. His research spans several disciplines, and he is among a small number of scholars who have won awards from all three major academic associations for his work in political science, sociology, and communication. He is the author, most recently, of Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up (Yale, 2015).

His latest book is Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives (Yale, 2020). Howard’s research and commentary writing has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and many international media outlets. He was awarded the National Democratic Institute’s 2018 “Democracy Prize” and Foreign Policy magazine named him a “Global Thinker” for pioneering the social science of fake news production. His B.A. is in political science from Innis College at the University of Toronto, his M.Sc. is in economics from the London School of Economics, and his Ph.D. is in sociology from Northwestern University. His website is philhoward.org, and he tweets from @pnhoward

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