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Introducing the Defusing Disinformation Project

By Alexander B. Howard

In 2019, information moves faster than ever, cascading across time zones and devices with the tap of a finger. Sometimes it’s accurate. Sometimes, it’s not. Political ads, propaganda, spam, phishing campaigns, marketing, advertising, news, memes, baby pictures, political ads, games and messages make up a never-ending river of media on our phones, laptops, and televisions.

I joked last July that “a lie can be tweeted halfway around the world while the truth is still unlocking its smartphone,” but the reality is that the disinformation and misinformation cascading across billions of screens around the world pose serious risks to much more than the integrity of our elections.

One of the insights from last year’s inaugural National Summit for Democracy was that defusing disinformation and mitigating misinformation have become critical needs for democracies everywhere.

That’s why this project exists, and why I decided to work with Stand Up Ideas to help edit and manage it this winter.

Over the next month, we’ll be publishing essays and blog posts that feature original analysis, provocative thinking, and constructive ideas for what media organizations, politicians, watchdogs and the public should do about it.

There are an extraordinary wealth of reports, research and projects dedicated to combating misinformation and disinformation online.

As we go, we’ll be linking out from our resource section, featuring them here on the blog, and hosting conversations about them offline and in person in Washington.

Thank you for reading, commenting, sharing and doing your part to defuse disinformation.

We need to build news literacy, resilience, and support for reforms that will help heal that which ails our body politic.

We need fresh ideas and brave leaders to make the changes in the world we need to see.

Let’s get started.

Alexander B. Howard is a writer, digital governance expert and open government advocate based in Washington, DC.

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