Conspiracy theories are intriguing, shocking, and often ridiculous. But too often, these theories take hold and have very real consequences, including undermining public trust in the media and our government, and in extreme cases, inciting violence and ripping families and communities apart.
When accepted at scale, conspiracy theories threaten the stability of our democracy. Social media has given new life to conspiracy theories and false information, propelling them around the world in the blink of an eye, giving greater power to conflict entrepreneurs, and forming powerful communities around conspiracies. Over time, conspiracism eats away at the broader information ecosystem, making it difficult to differentiate fact from fiction. This is especially true in non-English speaking communities, where content moderation has been less robust.
“Conspiracies on Social Media: When Nothing Is True, and Everything Is Possible” — an event sponsored by Issue One’s Council For Responsible Social Media — convened experts in democracy, technology, and information integrity for an analysis of how we reached this point, what about the design of social media makes it such a powerful tool for false information, and what we can do to fortify our information ecosystem ahead of the 2024 election.
- Imran Ahmed: Founder and CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH)
- Peter Pomerantsev: Author and Senior Fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University
- Nellie Gorbea: Former Rhode Island Secretary of State and Visiting Senior Fellow on Cybersecurity & Democracy at the Pell Center at Salve Regina University
- Alix Fraser: Council for Responsible Social Media Director at Issue One