Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs comprises more than 70 full-time faculty and more than 200 adjunct faculty, scholars, and practitioners. All have distinguished themselves in research and leadership in the policy world, and have produced scholarship in a wide variety of subjects, including international relations, democratization, elections, demography, and social policy.

July 2020|Universidad de Navarra|Anya Schiffrin

The premise of this dissertation is that 2016 was the year that societies began to understand the dangers of online/mis disinformation and decided to fund and implement solutions even though they had not been fully researched or tested. Many of the fixes were, in fact, based on the financial interests or belief systems of the people doing them. We provide a taxonomy of the variety of initiatives aimed at solving the problem, with the objective of enhancing our understanding of the strengths and limitations of each. The “solutions” we compare and contrast in this research include fact-checking initiatives and projects by journalists to promote community engagement, media literacy programs, technical fixes such as using natural language processing/AI to block false and/or inflammatory content and finally government regulation. Drawing on dozens of interviews with funders, journalists and regulators as well as archival material and including an exhaustive bibliography, this dissertation looks at the universe of solutions in an organized, structured way and concludes with policy proposals to help promote democracy.

June 2020|Columbia University Press|William B. Eimicke, Steven Cohen
January 2020|E-Flux Architecture|Timothy Mitchell

Infrastructures Work on Time

January 2020|Purple Patch|Tom Andrews
January 2020|COMMUNITY SERVICE SOCIETY|Harold Stolper
January 2020|Yale University Press|Patricia Mosser, William B. English

Chapter 2, First Responders: Inside the U.S. Strategy for Fighting the 2007-2009 Global Financial Crisis, B Bernanke, T. Geithner and H. Paulson (eds)

October 2019|Columbia University Press|Thomas Groll, Sharyn O'Halloran
October 2019|American Political Science Review|Thomas Groll, Christopher J. Ellis
October 2019|Strategic Analysis|Cynthia Roberts

The BRICS in the Era of Renewed Great Power Competition

September 2019|German Marshall Fund of the United States|Anya Schiffrin, Ellen Goodman

On both sides of the Atlantic, governments, foundations, and companies are looking at how to solve the problem of online dis/misinformation. Some emphasize the demand side of the problem, believing it important to focus on consumer behavior and the use of media literacy and fact-checking. Some focus on legal remedies such as platform-liability and hate-speech laws as well as privacy protections. Meanwhile, others try to raise the quality of journalism and support local news in the hope that creating more reliable content will be a counterweight to the dis/misinformation found online.

In short, there are myriad solutions aimed at addressing the problem of online dis/misinformation. This study looks at one kind of fix: the small companies in the information ecosystem that use natural language processing as well as human intelligence to identify and, in some cases, block false or inflammatory content online. This paper examines thirteen such companies, most of which are building solutions to identify false information online through a combination of people and natural language processing. Nascent and not yet widespread, these businesses are seeking to find new commercial applications for their products and, in some cases, hoping to entice the social media platforms to buy them out.

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