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Power Shift Scrolling — How Public Opinion Forms in a Digital Age

June 16 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

The cycling of new and buzz-worthy information we face on a daily basis is faster than ever before. As new trends in information, politics, and culture are constantly updating, little time is left for critical analysis before the next headline hits the feed. And when those who hold the power to influence audiences and drive opinions in strategic directions stand to benefit, how does the public know what is based on evidence versus algorithm? In her new book Invisible Rulers: The People Who Turn Lies Into Reality, author Renée DiResta sets out to examine the relationship between the people, their government, and the machinations of digital power dynamics.

Invisible Rulers details how public opinion has shifted from being based in belief in the fundamental institutions that make society work to being too easily shaped and sensationalized by the interplay between influencers, algorithms, and online crowds. Adaptation is always challenging but has become more time-sensitive as keener eyes are needed in our information landscape. These alternate systems for engaging with societal realities have become swiftly effective and in the swirling fog of who and what to believe, Renée DiResta advocates for not getting swept up in unexamined messaging. Through original analysis and a distinct voice on the subject of media literacy and trust, Invisible Rulers aims to highlight the risks and consequences of failing to critique leaders and propagandists in the age of rapidly shifting digital information.

Renée DiResta is a noted writer, researcher, and advisor in the fields of information integrity, media misinformation, and STEM education. She has served as the Director of Research at Yonder, a co-founder of Vaccinate California, and is currently the technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory. She is an Ideas Contributor at Wired and The Atlantic. Her writing and analysis can be found through The New York Times.


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