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Covert Influences: How Stealth Election Campaigns on Digital Media Are Stealing American Democracy

CDIS RED Talk - Young Mie Kim

Event Details

Thursday, December 2, 2021
4-5 p.m.

About the Talk:

What’s the impact of political disinformation on elections? Are digital platforms functioning as stealth media and enabling undisclosed political campaigns to spread furtive messages? In this talk, Kim will share her work developing a tracking tool and using reverse engineering to uncover targets, messages, and organizational strategies of furtive campaigns that are impacting democracy. Additionally, the talk will include a discussion on the impact of stealth campaigns on a functioning democracy and offer ideas for regulatory policies to curtail the negative implications.

Speaker Bio:

Young Mie Kim is a Professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a Faculty Affiliate of the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kim’s research concerns data-driven, algorithm-based, digitally mediated political communication. Her recent research project, Project DATA (Digital Ad Tracking & Analysis), empirically investigates the sponsors, content, and targets of digital political campaigns across multiple platforms with a user-based, real-time, ad tracking tool that reverse engineers the algorithms of political campaigns. Kim’s research, “The Stealth Media? Groups and Targets behind Divisive Issue Campaigns on Facebook,” identified Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election on Facebook. The work received the Kaid-Sanders Best Article of the Year in Political Communication (2018) awarded by the International Communication Association. Kim testified at the Federal Election Commission‘s hearings on the rulemaking of internet communication disclaimers and presented Congressional briefings on election interference on social media. Her research on Russian election interference in the US presidential election was cited by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Kim spoke at the European Parliament on her research on data-driven political advertising and inequality in political involvement