Breaking the News: How Bots, Trolls and Other Media Manipulators Threaten Our Politics

Date & Time

Monday May 14, 2018
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Location

University of Ottawa Desmarais Building Room 1160
55 Laurier Ave. DMS Building, Room 1160

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Activists, politicians and partisans compete intensely for attention and influence online. Today, malevolent actors seem to have the upper hand. They push disinformation and hate using fake accounts, bots and algorithms designed to keep us scrolling through the latest outrage. News organizations and social media platforms struggle to deal with these media manipulators, particularly after major tragedies or during heated political campaigns like the current one in Ontario.

 

This panel dissected the techniques used by foreign and domestic media manipulators, and suggested what can be done to fight them:

  • Elizabeth Dubois of the University of Ottawa will share her findings on bot use in Canada and during the lead up to the Ontario election.
  • Brittan Heller will describe how the Anti-Defamation League is tackling online hate.
  • Dave Salvo of the Alliance for Securing Democracy will present recent findings on digital information campaigns by Russia and other governments
  • Mike Ananny of the University of Southern California will explain how social media platforms and news organizations can respond to these challenges. 

The panel discussion was moderated by Chris Tenove, University of British Columbia.

This event was hosted by the Public Policy Forum and University of British Columbia, and supported by the Center for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, Concordia University, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

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