By Zenzele Best

Assembly Program logo, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Between 2017 and 2021, the Assembly Program at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society (BKC) at Harvard University brought together almost 150 professionals, experts, and students to better understand and develop solutions to some of the most intractable issues in technology policy. Led by Professor Jonathan Zittrain and supported by faculty, staff, and experts from across the University and the Center, the program explored topics in digital security, artificial intelligence (AI), and disinformation; produced a variety of prototypes and projects; and fostered a community that spanned across sectors and disciplines.

“Being academic isn’t, at its…


By Zenzele Best

How do we build long-term solutions to disinformation when emerging technologies constantly change the way information is shared? What frameworks are most useful for describing, understanding, and analyzing disinformation? And who should ultimately be held accountable for the spread of disinformation campaigns on social media platforms?

This spring, the members of the 2020–21 Assembly Student Fellowship cohort continued to explore questions like these, examining how foreign influence operations have evolved since the Cold War, discussing the ways racialized disinformation campaigns can be weaponized as a voter suppression tactic, and learning about technical interventions to online disinformation.

Members of the 2020–21 Assembly Student Fellowship cohort

Assembly…


By Zenzele Best

Online disinformation — and its real-world ramifications — were defining features of 2020. Over the course of the year, disinformation campaigns misled communities about the coronavirus pandemic, exacerbated racial tensions, and sought to influence the results of a national election. While disinformation prompted immediate questions about voter manipulation, public health, and social media, it also raised broader issues: what incentivizes people to deliberately spread false information? Who should be responsible for regulating online disinformation? And how do we measure the impact of disinformation or efforts to mitigate it?

The third iteration of the Assembly Student Fellowship cohort…


By Zenzele Best

Over the past year, Assembly: Disinformation has brought together students, professionals, and experts deeply committed to understanding and making progress on problems related to disinformation and the spread of inauthentic content. This year’s program had three tracks: the Assembly Forum, Assembly Fellowship, and Assembly Student Fellowship. Guided by problem definitions developed during meetings of the Assembly Forum — an expert discussion group comprised of leaders in academia, civil society, government, and the private sector — the Assembly Fellows and Assembly Student Fellows developed team-based public interest project prototypes, sketches, and provocations scoped to specific aspects of the…


Misinfo Motives is a project created during the 2020 Assembly Fellowship at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. One of three tracks in the Assembly: Disinformation Program, the Assembly Fellowship convenes professionals from across disciplines and sectors to tackle the spread and consumption of disinformation. Each fellow participated as an individual, and not as a representative of their organization. Assembly Fellows conducted their work independently with light advisory guidance from program advisors and staff.

The Misinfo Motives project and this post were authored by John Hess, Michaela Lee, Isabelle Rice, and Brian Scully; the project team has backgrounds in…


Into the Voids is a project created during the 2020 Assembly Fellowship at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. One of three tracks in the Assembly: Disinformation Program, the Assembly Fellowship convenes professionals from across disciplines and sectors to tackle the spread and consumption of disinformation. Each fellow participated as an individual, and not as a representative of their organization. Assembly Fellows conducted their work independently with light advisory guidance from program advisors and staff.

The Into the Voids project and this post were authored by EC, Rafiq Copeland, Jenny Fan, and Tanay Jaeel; the project team has backgrounds…


Semaphore is a project created during the 2020 Assembly Fellowship at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. One of three tracks in the Assembly: Disinformation Program, the Assembly Fellowship convenes professionals from across disciplines and sectors to tackle the spread and consumption of disinformation. Each fellow participated as an individual, and not as a representative of their organization. Assembly Fellows conducted their work independently with light advisory guidance from program advisors and staff.

The Semaphore project and this post were authored by John Hess, Michaela Lee, and Isabelle Rice; the project team has backgrounds in software engineering, development, and…


Disinfodex is a project created during the 2020 Assembly Fellowship at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. One of three tracks in the Assembly: Disinformation Program, the Assembly Fellowship convenes professionals from across disciplines and sectors to tackle the spread and consumption of disinformation. Each fellow participated as an individual, and not as a representative of their organization. Assembly Fellows conducted their work independently with light advisory guidance from program advisors and staff.

The Disinfodex project and this post were authored by Gülsin Harman, Rhona Tarrant, Ashley Tolbert, Neal Ungerleider, and Clement Wolf; the project team has backgrounds in…


Coordinated Authentic Behavior is a project created during the 2020 Assembly Fellowship at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. One of three tracks in the Assembly: Disinformation Program, the Assembly Fellowship convenes professionals from across disciplines and sectors to tackle the spread and consumption of disinformation. Each fellow participated as an individual, and not as a representative of their organization. Assembly Fellows conducted their work independently with light advisory guidance from program advisors and staff.

The Coordinated Authentic Behavior project and this post were authored by Maggie Engler, Olya Gurevich, Michelle Linch, and Dylan Moses; the project team has…


Youth and Disinformation Literacy is a project created during the 2019–2020 Assembly Student Fellowship at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. One of three tracks in the Assembly Program, the Assembly Student Fellowship convenes Harvard students from across a variety of schools and disciplines to tackle the spread and consumption of disinformation. Assembly Student Fellows conducted their work independently with light advisory guidance from program advisors and staff.

The Youth and Disinformation Literacy infographic and this post was authored by Matthew Finney (SEAS ‘20), Michael Jasper (College ‘21), and Jennifer Nilsen (HKS ‘20).

Young people convene on the internet…

Assembly at the Berkman Klein Center

Assembly @BKCHarvard brings together students, technology professionals, and experts drawn to explore disinformation in the digital public sphere.

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