GlobalFact 9 Headliners, A Closer Look
OSLO, Norway – GlobalFact is an annual conference on fact-checking and journalism organized by the International Fact-Checking Network. This year marks the ninth edition of the world’s largest fact-checking summit. It will be held in Oslo, Norway, June 22-25, at Oslo Metropolitan University. Virtual tickets are also available.
Learn more about six of this year’s GlobalFact headliners.
Dr. Joan Donovan is a leading disinformation researcher and director of research at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, which focuses on the intersection of media, politics, and public policy. She is also the director of the Technology and Social Change Project, – or TaSC – which examines methods of media manipulation, control of public conversation and the influence of democracy. The Shorenstein Center’s website says TaSC “facilitates workshops for journalists, policymakers, technologists, and civil society organizations on how to detect, document, and debunk media manipulation campaigns.”
TaSC’s Media Manipulation Casebook compiles and aggregates information, theories, successful implementations, and case studies related to disinformation and misinformation. The project is a “team of interdisciplinary researchers analyzing how contemporary communication technologies are used by different groups to bring about social change, for better or for worse”. He has examined and documented information warfare on all sides, including that of the Milk Tea Alliance, the “Save the Children” conspiracy hashtag, and coordinated hashtag campaigns targeting elections in Chile.
Donovan is also a columnist for MIT’s Technology Review and has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post and other nationally recognized publications. She is published in various academic journals, including Nature, Social Media + Society, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Information, Communication & Society, and Social Studies of Science. His latest book, “Meme Wars: The Untold Story of the Online Battles Upending Democracy in America,” describes how the January 6 riots manifested from online communities.
Donovan co-created the beaver emoji and coined many of the terms used in contemporary disinformation media and research.
Jane Lytvynenko is also a research fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center and TaSC.
“I focus on designing a training program for newsrooms and academics, auditing research and exploring cases of media manipulation globally,” Lytvynenko writes about his work.
Lytvynenko was a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News, where she published articles exposing online manipulation campaigns. She has also done freelance reporting for outlets such as The Guardian, VICE, The Atlantic and MIT Tech Review.
An ethnic Ukrainian, Lytvynenko has written extensively on the Russian-Ukrainian war. In February, when fighting first broke out, Lytvynenko posted “I can’t stop watching a live stream in Kyiv”, detailing some of the history of the conflict, footage from the war and his thoughts while consuming news and watching Reuters live feeds of the two. Kyiv and Maidan.
Lytvynenko wrote in Spanish, English and German.
Anne Applebaum is currently an editor for The Atlantic and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in the general non-fiction category for her book “Gulag: A Story”. She wrote extensively on the history of the Soviet Union, previously publishing books such as “Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine” and “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956”. Applebaum was a Washington Post columnist for more than 15 years and a Warsaw correspondent for The Economist in the late 1980s and early 1990s during the fall of Polish communism.
His most recent book, “Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism”, describes a tendency among “some of his contemporaries” to shun liberal ideas of democracy and favor “strongman cults, nationalist movements or one-party states”.
“People aren’t just ideological,” writes Applebaum. “They are also practical, pragmatic, opportunistic. The authoritarian and nationalist parties that have sprung up within modern democracies offer new paths to wealth or power for their adherents. The book describes common patterns among “politicians, journalists, intellectuals and others who have abandoned democratic ideals” in favor of “illiberalism”.
Applebaum has published articles in Polish, Spanish, English, German and French.
One day, while visiting friends in Memphis, Tennessee, then-student Peter McIndoe inadvertently found himself witnessing a right-wing counter-demonstration against the mass protests shortly after the election of President Donald Trump. Almost without thinking, according to the story, he picked up a sign, wrote “birds aren’t real” on it and began proselytizing, an obvious parody of the anti-conspiracy protests. Viewers took a video and uploaded it to the internet. It went viral and the rest is history. He peddled the satirical plot and has gained followers ever since.
“If it flies, it spies” is an oft-repeated refrain from McIndoe and his followers. In McIndoe’s world, CNN is the chicken news network.
“It’s the most important movement on the face of the earth, some would say,” McIndoe said recently in an interview with radio personality Howard Stern.
In interviews, including this one, McIndoe broke character to explain the joke behind the plot. “It was kind of this idea of holding a mirror up to madness,” he said.
You can read more about the very detailed mythology on “Birds Aren’t Real” here.
Craig Silverman currently investigates, reports and writes for ProPublica. His writings and research have primarily focused on online misinformation and media manipulation.
Silverman won the George Polk Prize for his work exposing how Facebook displays user misinformation. “Facebook gets paid,” “Facebook fired employee who gathered evidence that right-wing pages get preferential treatment,” and “How Facebook Failed Kenosha” are some of the series that received the Polk. Silverman also won the Canadian Association of Journalists Survey of the Year for his work detailing an international Facebook scam. You can read more about it in “Trap King: How a massive Facebook scam siphoned millions from unsuspecting baby boomers”.
Silverman previously worked at BuzzFeed News, where he served as media editor.
Patricía Campos Mello is a decorated Brazilian journalist who works in Folha de S. Paulo as a columnist and senior reporter. His work covers broad topics ranging from the war in Afghanistan to the Ebola outbreak to the refugee crisis in the Middle East.
In 2019, Mello won the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists for his work uncovering the trade deals of a pro-Bolsonaro group promoting the Brazilian president on social media, including WhatsApp. In response to her coverage, Mello was threatened on social media and by phone. She was repeatedly doxxed and forced to hire a bodyguard and cancel public appearances.
“The Campos Mello attack was one of the most visible instances of doxing in a year and in an election cycle in which dozens of journalists were harassed and criticized for their reporting,” the Committee for protection of journalists in an article.
Mello has worked as a correspondent in several countries and continents.