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Spring 2022

What Comes After Disinformation Studies?

Even as disinformation has been the subject of growing academic debate, the relationship between disinformation, technology, and global democratic backsliding, white supremacy, inequalities, nationalisms, and the rise of authoritarianism globally remains unclear, and raises important questions of what constitutes healthy democratic systemsHosted by the médialab at Science Po and as a pre-conference for the International Communication Association in Paris, France on Wednesday, May 25, this day-long event advances an interdisciplinary, critical, post-disinformation studies agenda that centers questions of politics and power. Learn more here.

Spring Speaker Series

For our spring 2022 lecture series, CITAP is proud to host speakers whose work exemplifies our own commitments to holistic research grounded in social differences and conscious of the roles of power and institutions.

These researchers’ work explores political processes, democracy and equality, mis- and disinformation, and platforms, networks, and infrastructure. We hope that you’ll join us for the full series.

Series Details and RSVP

Catherine Knight Steele

Thursday, May 5 at 3:30pm
Freedom Forum Conference Center, Carroll Hall

 

Past spring speakers:

Mary Anne Franks

The Free Speech Industry: How the Internet Commodifies Freedom
Thursday, February 3 at 3:30pm in the Freedom Forum Conference Center, Carroll Hall

Jessa Lingel

The craigslist ethic: A web 1.0 vision of online democracy
Thursday, March 10 at 3:30pm in the Freedom Forum Conference Center, Carroll Hall

Andre Brock

On Race and Technoculture
Thursday, April 7 at 3:30pm in the Freedom Forum Conference Center, Carroll Hall

Jonathan Ong

The Politics and Ethics of Representing “the Troll”
Thursday, April 21 at 3:30pm in the Freedom Forum Conference Center, Carroll Hall

The Capital Coup One Year Later: How Research Can Assess and Counter Threats to Democracy

January 6-7, 2022

The University of North Carolina’s Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) and George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics (IDDP) invite you to join them for The Capital Coup One Year Later: How Research Can Assess and Counter Threats to Democracy, a two-day conference exploring key questions surrounding January 6, 2021. The event will span two half-days on January 6 and 7, 2022 with both in-person and virtual participation, featuring keynote talks from Drs. Emily Van Duyn, Khadijah White, and Francesca Tripodi.

Learn More & Register

Spring 2020

As a precautionary measure to help prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19, the 2020 Kilgour Lecture with Arvind Narayanan and the CITAP panel “Free Speech, Paid Speech, and Fake Speech,” have been postponed. Both events are tentatively rescheduled for Sept. 10. Additional details will be shared closer to the new date.

Arvind Narayanan: “The Cognitive Errors Enabling the Unchecked Power of Tech Platforms”

(Cancelled due to COVID-19 Campus Closures)

Friday, April 3, 10:00 am
Pleasants Family Room at Wilson Library

The UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) will welcome Arvind Narayanan, lead researcher with the Princeton Web Transparency and Accountability Project, on April 3 to deliver the 2020 OCLC/Frederick G. Kilgour Lecture. Narayanan’s talk, “The Cognitive Errors Enabling the Unchecked Power of Tech Platforms,” will begin at 10 am in the Pleasants Family Room at Wilson Library. The event is free and open to the public. Visit the SILS website for more about the event and speaker.

Free Speech, Paid Speech, and Fake Speech in Democracy

(Cancelled due to COVID-19 Campus Closures)

Friday, April 3, 2:00 pm
Carroll Hall, Room 111

Misinformation and disinformation are nothing new in American democracy, but the internet and social media have accelerated their spread and amplified their impact.

On April 3, leading experts affiliated with Carolina’s Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) will examine how this new information landscape is influencing our personal beliefs and political leanings, and its cumulative effect on democracy.

The panel discussion, “Free Speech, Paid Speech, and Fake Speech in Democracy,” will touch on a variety of pressing issues from social media echo chambers and algorithmic micro targeting to increased partisanship and declining trust in traditional institutions. CITAP panelists will help audience members understand how we got where we are today, what is at stake for the future, and what is necessary to change course.

Panelists will include Deen Freelon, Daniel Kreiss, Alice Marwick, and Zeynep Tufekci from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Tressie McMillan Cottom from Virginia Commonwealth University. David Ardia, Associate Professor at the UNC School of Law, will moderate.

The panel is part of a larger celebration of CITAP, which launched in July 2019 with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Luminate.

A brief reception will follow the panel conclusion. The event is free and open to the public.

Algorithm Skills: What are They and How Do We Measure Them?

Eszter Hargittai
University of Zurich
Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 10:00am EST
Freedom Forum Conference Center (Carroll Hall 305)
Light snacks provided

Considerable scholarship has established that algorithms are an increasingly important part of what information people encounter in everyday life. Much less work has focused on studying users’ experiences with, understandings of, and attitudes about how algorithms may influence what they see and do. The dearth of research on this topic globally with diverse populations may be in part due to the difficulty in studying a subject about which there is no known ground truth given that details about algorithms are proprietary and rarely made public. In this talk, Professor Hargittai will report on the methodological challenges of studying people’s algorithm skills based on 83 in-person interviews conducted in five countries. She will also discuss the types of algorithm skills identified from our data. The talk will advocate for more such scholarship to accompany existing system-level analyses of algorithms’ social implications and offers a blue print for how to do this.

Speaker Bio: Eszter Hargittai is Professor and Chair of Internet Use and Society at the Institute of Communication and Media Research, University of Zurich. Previously, she was the Delaney Family Professor in the Communication Studies Department at Northwestern University. In 2019, she was elected Fellow of the International Communication Association and also received the William F. Ogburn Mid-Career Achievement Award from the American Sociological Association’s section on Communication, Information Technology and Media Sociology. For over two decades, she has been researching people’s Internet uses and skills, and how these relate to questions of social inequality.


Fall 2019

Fostering an Informed Society: The Role of the First Amendment in Strengthening Local News and Democracy

On November 8-9, the Center for Media Law and Policy will be joining with the First Amendment Law Review and Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) to present a symposium and workshop focused on fostering an informed society. This two-day event will examine the role of the First Amendment in creating an informed society and explore legal and policy interventions that support the creation and dissemination of information that meets the needs of American democracy. More information available on the Media Law website.

Closed Newspapers and Polarized Politics: What Can We Do?

The UNC Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life and Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media will host a talk by Joshua Darr, Assistant Professor in the Manship School of Mass Communication and the Department of Political Science at Louisiana State University, on October 3 at 3:00pm in the Freedom Forum Conference Center of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Darr’s presentation, “Closed Newspapers and Polarized Politics: What Can We Do?,” will examine local media’s place in the polarization puzzle that faces American politics today and whether local newspapers can do anything to stop it.