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Renée DiResta: How to Beat Bad Information

Inadvertent misinformation and outright disinformation have become a scourge on American discourse, but those committed to the truth are keeping pace.

An illustration of a fishing hook amid unhappy faces.

It takes vigilance and sophisticated algorithms to find the truth in an ocean of data polluted with disinformation. 

Renée DiResta is research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, a multi-disciplinary center that focuses on abuses of information technology, particularly social media.

She’s an expert in the role technology platforms and their “curatorial” algorithms play in the rise and spread of misinformation and disinformation.

Fresh off an intense period keeping watch over the 2020 U.S. elections for disinformation as part of the Election Integrity Partnership, DiResta says the campaign became one of the most closely observed political dramas in American history.

She says that whether it comes from the top down or the bottom up, bad information can be spotted and beaten, but overcoming falsehoods in the future will require vigilance and a commitment to the truth. She explains more on Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything podcast, with host Russ Altman. Listen and subscribe here.




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