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New Article: Protecting Democracy from Disinformation–Normative Threats and Policy Responses

May 27, 2020

This is truly the lazy man’s blog. Here’s a Twitter thread!

My article surveys policy proposals and debates in 10 countries and the EU, and shows how different democratic goods are the focus of different policy sectors: national security, electoral regulation, and media regulation. (2/n) 

Its spark was a workshop with @HeidiTworek @mckelveyf and the @ppforumca in 2018. We had international experts and Canadian government officials do tabletop simulations of responses to disinfo attacks. It led to our report, published by the Public Policy Forum, Poisoning Democracy: How Canada Can Address Harmful Speech Online.

As a part-time democratic theorist, I wanted to understand the different conceptions of democracy at stake in global debates over disinfo policy. A problem: a new policy or expert study seems to come every 36 hours. Did I miss some? Undoubtedly! (4/n) 

Time for shout-outs! I can’t praise @prof_vaccari and the #IJPP team enough, including for finding the most thoughtful set of peer reviewers I’ve ever had. Thanks also for feedback from @mckayspencer @JordanBuffie @robyncaplan, and support from @peterwklein @SSHRC_CRSH (5/n)

There are a few articles at the intersection of democratic theory, disinfo and disrupted public spheres that I think deserve more attention. Common-Knowledge Attacks on Democracy by @henryfarrell and @schneierblog (6/n)

Jenni Forestal’s Beyond Gatekeeping: Propaganda, Democracy, and the Organization of Digital Publics @seejenspeak (7/n) 

Dave Karpf’s On Digital Disinformation and Democratic Myths @davekarpf for the impressive #MediaWell series by @SSRC_mtp (8/n)

The unedited public sphere by @BruceBimber_yu @_HGZ

And lastly, if you’re looking to do comparative work on responding to disinformation, I highly recommend Information Manipulation: A Challenge for Our Democracies by @jeangene_vilme and his @IRSEM1 team (10/n) 

Disinformation and Propaganda – Impact on the Functioning of the Rule of Law in the EU and its Member States by @JuditBayer & colleagues for the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs (11/n) 

And of course, the #IJPP article by @EddaHumprecht @esserfrank_ and @petervanaels, Resilience to Online Disinformation: A Framework for Cross-National Comparative Research (12/12)

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