April 8, 2019 (All day)

420 W 118th St #9, New York, NY 10027

A recent series of elections in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and indeed across Asia has highlighted the salience of digital media in political campaigns and insidious modes of electoral manipulation. This two-day workshop aims to gather evidence into the operations and impact of digital disinformation in the context of recent Asian elections. The conference approaches Asia as a site in which disinformation in various digital and analog forms have not only deep local histories but also radical acceleration and innovation the likes of which have little to no precedent in advanced liberal democracies in the West. Many Asian countries lead in both scale and intensity of technological adoption and use while serving as “laboratories” for testing and experimentation by Big Tech firms, with minimal oversight and accountability to the potentially grave consequences of algorithmic tweaks, the dispersed labor of content moderation, and new platform rollouts.Thus we seek to develop a framework that examines the social and political ramifications of this process beyond the region.

The two-day event aims for interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to thinking through issues of disinformation that draw from areas of sociology, politics, media and communication studies, journalism studies, critical legal studies, information science, and anthropology.

The format will consist of workshop sessions open to the public organized around four main themes: 1) Elections and Disinformation, 2) Winning the Digital War: The Transformation of Political Campaigns, 3) Digital Populisms and Constructions of 'the Other', and 4) Confronting Facebook: Platform Regulation, Information Control, and Local Interventions. In addition, the event will include an open, public evening session to which members of the New York and national journalism and policy communities will be invited.

CALL FOR PAPERS: We invite participants to submit a title, 300-word abstract and 150-word author bio that address any or several of these topics:

- Media manipulation and disinformation in election campaigns

- Production processes and labor arrangements of networked disinformation campaigns

- Ethnographies of citizen engagement and "voter rationalities"

- Asian populisms in online communities

- Regulation of campaign finance and big tech in comparative perspective

- Shadow economies of creative and digital work related to elections

- Digital influencers and trolls for hire in elections

- Election integrity interventions

- Fact-checking in relation to elections

Deadline for proposal submissions is April 8, 2019.

Some travel and hotel funding may be available for selected participants.

The workshop will aim to produce a special journal issue on the impact of disinformation on democracy in East and Southeast Asia. To be eligible for inclusion in the planned special issue, please submit a full paper of 6000 words by September 8, 2019. Please send your queries, abstracts, and papers to disinfo.columbia@gmail.com

Hosted by: 

  • Columbia Weatherhead East Asian Institute
  • Columbia Journalism School