A Brief History of Disinformation


Speaker: Matt Tait (University of Texas)

There's been a lot of talk in the media about "fake news" and "disinformation", especially in relation to the hacking and disclosure of thousands of emails belonging to the DNC and John Podesta during the 2016 election. But while the DNC hack may be a high-profile example, disinformation and other forms of information warfare are not new – even in U.S. political campaigns. It isn’t the sole preserve of nation-states, and isn’t just limited to influencing elections. What is new is how modern technology like social-media, machine-learning, targeted advertising and, yes, hacking have all led to a massive explosion in the scale and effectiveness of disinformation.

So what is disinformation? How did we get here? What does the future of information warfare look like? And perhaps most importantly, what can we do to build software that is trustworthy even when facts appear to no longer matter and truth itself is under assault from all directions?

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