Key leaders and experts discuss the biggest questions at the intersection of technology, media, and democracy.

Though internet technologies have brought unprecedented social advantages and helped democratize access to information and idea, they have also been exploited to mislead, disenfranchise, and undermine democracy. As the internet continues to evolve, the challenges to an informed citizenry are likely to intensify in years to come. INFORMED is a critical forum to explore these challenges and viable solutions.

Recorded Sessions

Welcome Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation
John Sands, Knight Foundation

Election and Information Integrity: Democracy in a Digital World

Elected leaders and experts discuss the latest efforts to protect the security and integrity of the democratic process.

Hon. Jocelyn Benson, State of Michigan Hon. Brad Raffensperger, State of Georgia
Major Garrett, CBS News
Introduction: David Becker, Center for Election Innovation and Research
Renée DiResta, Stanford Internet Observatory
Katie Harbath, Anchor Change
Chris Krebs, Krebs Stamos Group and Former Director, U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
Kate Starbird, University of Washington
Major Garrett, CBS News


Research and Policy: Opportunities for a Shared Agenda

8:45 AM – 9:35 AM ET          

Samsher (Sam) Singh Gill, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Alondra Nelson, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Introduction: Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation

In her role at the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, Alondra Nelson leads efforts to ensure federal policy is informed by evidence. This conversation will explore how researchers and policymakers can work together to advance the public interest.

In Conversation: Frances Haugen and Jeff Horwitz on Tech Whistleblowing, Journalism and the Public Interest

9:35 AM – 10:25 AM ET

Frances Haugen, Data Engineer and Transparency Advocate; Jeff Horwitz, Wall Street Journal
Introduction: Latanya Sweeney, Harvard Kennedy School

A year after Wall Street Journal published The Facebook Files exposé, whistleblower Frances Haugen sits down with the reporter who broke the story to discuss what we’ve learned since then – and what we still don’t know. 

How the Culture Wars Became Content Wars

11:00 AM – 11:50 AM ET

Ben Collins, NBC News; Brandi Collins-Dexter, Harvard Kennedy School; Joan Donovan, Harvard Kennedy School; Alice Marwick, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Introduction: Samuel Woolley, University of Texas at Austin

Experts from the academy and journalism reflect on how online conspiracy became a mainstay in U.S. politics and civic life – and how to address it.

Lessons from the First Infodemic

12:20 PM – 1:15 PM ET                       

Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 Response; Katelyn Jetelina, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute; Claire Wardle, Brown University School of Public Health
Introduction: Ashley Zohn, Knight Foundation

Noted experts discuss how disinformation online continues to affect public health and policy, and what lessons from the COVID response can be applied to the next infodemic.

A New Model for Platform Research? The U.S. 2020 Facebook and Instagram Election Study

Talia Stroud, University of Texas at Austin; Joshua Tucker, New York University; Michael Wagner, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Introduction: Brandon Silverman, (Former) CrowdTangle

This session will explore a novel collaboration between  academics and researchers at Meta to understand the impact of Facebook and Instagram in the context of the 2020 US elections.

Safety in the Digital Public Square

2:40 PM – 3:30 PM ET

Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami; Carrie Goldberg, C.A. Goldberg, PLLC; Rosie Hidalgo, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor on Gender-Based Violence in the White House Gender Policy Council, Sahar Massachi, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Integrity Institute
Introduction: Nora Benavidez, Senior Counsel and Director, Digital Justice & Civil Rights at Free Press

Thought leaders from academia, industry, and government discuss the technology and policies that can reduce online hate and harassment and protect equal access to digital space. 

How Big is Too Big? Competition in the Tech Sector

3:30 PM – 4:20 PM ET              

Andrew Ferguson, State of Virginia; Doha Mekki, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Christopher Yoo, University of Pennsylvania
Introduction: Eli Lehrer, R Street Institute

Experts evaluate the tools policymakers have to ensure competition in the tech sector, and whether and how they should be deployed.

On with Kara Swisher: Yoel Roth and the Crisis at Twitter

4:40 PM – 5:30 PM ET          

Yoel Roth, Formerly of Twitter, Kara Swisher, On with Kara Swisher
Introduction: John Sands, Knight Foundation

Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former Head of Trust and Safety, gives his first in-depth interview since resigning from the company. He speaks to tech journalist Kara Swisher about Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, why he chose to leave the company and how platforms moderate online speech. This conversation will be taped live for the New York Magazine podcast “On with Kara Swisher.”


Can Fixing the Internet Save Democracy?

9:00 AM – 9:50 AM ET

Frank McCourt, Project Liberty; Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation
Introduction: Catherine Stihler; Creative Commons, Chris Lewis, Public Knowledge

The internet technologies created to help connect us to information and each other increasingly are being used to drive communities apart and undermine democracy.  As society reflects and technologies evolve, how can we harness this moment to remake an internet that serves us all?

Addressing Spanish-language Disinformation

9:50 AM – 10:40 AM ET

Hon. Nellie Gorbea, State of Rhode Island; Javier Marín, El Planeta Media

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly three-quarters of U.S. Latinos now get their news online, where the exposure to false or dangerous narratives is more likely. With digital platforms struggling to fact-check and moderate Spanish-language content, what can be done to ensure that Spanish speakers have access to accurate civic information? 

Perspectives and Provocations from the Field

11:00 AM – 11:50 AM ET

Danielle Brown, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Deen Freelon, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Chris Riley, R Street Institute; Dhanaraj Thakur, Center for Democracy & Technology
Introduction: Anabelle Torek, Knight Foundation

Scholars share insights from their research on tech, media, and democracy. 


12:30 PM – 1:30 PM ET

Cory Doctorow, author, activist and journalist; Tim Wu, White House Technology and Competition Policy
Introduction: John Sands, Knight Foundation

Can better competition in the tech sector solve democracy’s current challenges?

Closing Remarks

1:30 PM – 1:40 PM ET

John Sands, Knight Foundation

Featured Speakers

Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and a Principal Researcher at the Center for Information, Technology and Public Life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice


We are social investors who support democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once had newspapers.

John S. and James L. Knight believed a well-informed community could best determine its own true interests and was essential to an effective democracy. Today, we are a leading investor in the field of research emerging around questions of information integrity, media, and democratic citizenship in the digital age. To date, we have committed more than $60 million to support this field through an expansive consortium of academic researchers and policy experts known as the Knight Research Network. Learn more at


What does it cost to register for the virtual conference?

There is no fee to attend the virtual convening. Please feel free to recommend the conference to colleagues.

When does the conference officially start and end?

We will kick off the conference with a talk at 4:00 p.m. Monday Nov. 28 and end around 2 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 30. Only plenary sessions will be livestreamed and then available on demand.

How do I get a link to participate in the virtual conference?

We will email it to you once you register. If you can’t find your link when the conference is, please email us at [email protected].

What if I have other questions?

Please email any additional questions to [email protected]. Thank you!