PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Ryan McKenna
Phone: (202) 691-4217
ryan.mckenna@wilsoncenter.org

WASHINGTON, DC – The Wilson Center Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) has appointed Nina Jankowicz as its Disinformation Fellow to carry out a rigorous research program outlining comparative regulatory approaches to online influence.

Jankowicz, who has also been affiliated with the Center's Kennan Institute since 2017, studies the intersection of technology and democracy in the Eastern and Central European regions. Her writing and analysis have been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic, and on PBS Newshour and Amanpour, among others. Her first book, How to Lose the Information War, will be published by Bloomsbury's IBTauris in Summer 2020.

"It's more important than ever to provide real facts and trustworthy information. Everyone is being tested, including the Wilson Center. We look forward to convening a year of productive and nonpartisan discussion on this critical issue, and to working together to develop cross-sector cooperation solutions further," said Jane Harman, Director, President, and CEO of the Wilson Center.

Through a one-year series of events, practical workshops, and scholarship, the Wilson Center with the generous support of Facebook, Inc., aims to bridge the gap between policy professionals, technologists, and academics developing approaches to defeat disinformation.

While the current conversation about information operations – including disinformation – is mostly focused on the 2016 and upcoming 2020 US federal elections, this challenge is an age-old issue. Since the expansion of the Internet and development of sophisticated online targeting tools, organized disinformation campaigns, as well as homegrown disinformation efforts have impacted elections, caused violence, and presented a serious challenge for policymakers and the major Internet platforms.

STIP has already begun convening public discussions about the history of modern disinformation, policy and regulatory solutions, and the future of online influence. The first discussion, "Decoding the Disinformation Problem," was held in August and moderated by CNN Anchor Kate Bolduan. It featured Jankowicz, Microsoft's Ginny Badanes, Jessica Beyer of the University of Washington, David Green of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Katie Harbath, Facebook's Global Elections Director. Two more events in Washington and Silicon Valley outlining the regulatory landscape and looking towards the future of online influence are planned for fall 2019 and early 2020.

The series will also serve as a resource for global legislators and the general public, convening educational workshops, launching a serious game, and publishing policy briefs on regulatory approaches to countering disinformation.

Notes to editors:

The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policymaking and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world.