Preparing for Disinformation in the 2022 Elections
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In The Big Lie 2.0: Disinformation in the 2022 Elections, a discussion series hosted by Protect Democracy, participants will consider critical questions like:
- How does election disinformation threaten the healthy functioning of our democracy?
- How can we best understand the threat of election disinformation targeting voters of color in 2022 and what these communities need to fight back?
- How well is defamation litigation suited to impose concrete costs on the most influential sources and spreaders of election disinformation?
America’s changing media environment and growing polarization have made our democracy vulnerable to disinformation—from sources both foreign and domestic. Prospective voters of all kinds have been exposed to false and deliberately misleading information in recent elections, though communities of color have been disproportionately targeted by this threat. Consequences for governance and social cohesion proliferate, and beyond those, individual election workers and election officials are subject to threats and harassment resulting from politically motivated lies. We have every indication that these problems will persist through the 2022 election cycle.
There is a growing consensus across the political spectrum that political disinformation is one of the defining challenges facing American democracy today. As we look ahead to the 2022 election cycle, Protect Democracy is convening scholars and policy experts from around the country to reflect on the effect of disinformation on recent U.S. elections and how to mitigate its influence on the upcoming election cycle.
Please stay tuned for additional events in this series.
At The Epicenter: Electoral Propaganda in Targeted Communities of Color
On November 9, 2021, Protect Democracy hosted a conversation with Samuel Woolley, Director of the Propaganda Research Lab and Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and Esosa Osa, Research and Policy Director at Fair Fight Action, to discuss election disinformation targeting communities of color in the United States.
This event was on-the-record and included open questions from the audience. The panelists answered questions about the role of traditional media in mitigating the harmful effects of disinformation, the need for state- and local-level solutions in addition to national-level solutions, and whether social media platforms and voters in these targeted communities are better prepared to identify and respond to disinformation that they encounter online now than they were in 2020.
In a new white paper for Protect Democracy, Samuel Woolley and Mark Kumleben review existing research on election disinformation, examine recent disinformation campaigns targeting voters of color in three representative battleground states (Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin), and preview forthcoming research with Protect Democracy on these topics.