Kathleen Carley had dedicated her career to studying the spread of propaganda.
“I myself have always been intrigued with how information moves between people and how the movement affects who we interact with and changes our whole lifestyle,” she said.
Carley will lead a team of experts and researchers as the director of the newly launched Center for Informed Democracy and Social Cybersecurity housed in the School of Computer Science.
While she notes disinformation is not something new - she calls it part of the human condition - the method that is used to deliver the misinformation has evolved with the advent of social media.
"It is about to get worse with the increased sophistication of bots, memes and the beginning of deep fakes," Carley said in a release. "Other countries and non-state actors use these tools to impact and shape what you read and who you talk to on social media. The United States doesn't have the tools or the policies it needs to respond.”
The center’s goal is to develop solutions to recognize how the information is being spread, according to Carley. She plans to host workshops to educate media consumers and journalists.
The center is funded by a $5 million Knight Foundation grant. The work is part of a broader $50 million investment divided among 11 universities to research technology’s impact on democracy.