Social media and race-disinformation in 2020 and beyond
Sept. 30-Oct. 1
Cathy Hughes School of Communications
The Cathy Hughes School of Communications presents its 10th annual social media event September 30-October 1, 2021. The year’s Social Media Symposium is titled “From COVID-19 to the Ballot Box: Social Media and Race-based Disinformation in 2020 and Beyond.” The two-day event focuses on dissecting how disinformation campaigns use systemic racism
to discourage Black participation in COVID vaccination protocols, voting and debates about reexamining police power following the murder of George Floyd.
This year’s conference returns after a one-year hiatus, disrupted by the global coronavirus pandemic.
“After witnessing the turmoil brought on by massive disinformation campaigns in last year’s presidential election, the George Floyd and Black Lives Matters protests, ongoing pandemic and multimedia, we felt that it was important to reconvene as a symposium to be part of the national conversation that interrogates how the black community can mitigate the harm caused by social media-promoted disinformation campaigns,” said Ingrid Sturgis, chair of the Department of Media, Journalism and Film.
Sturgis will serve as symposium co-chair, along with Dr. Tia Tyree, acting associate dean and Dr. Langmia Kehbuma, chair of the Department of Legal Strategic and Management Communications.
The NAACP has said disinformation—falsehoods and rumors, purposefully meant to cause harm—is “a perpetual attempt to tarnish and erode our democracy,” and is a critical issue for Black communities. It is also a growing media concern that is being investigated by such news organizations as the Associated Press, Politifact and the National Association of Black Journalists, as well as scholars, community activists and political activists.
The virtual event will convene thought leaders across disciplines to engage in a public discussion and share research opportunities, policy recommendations, resources, as well as techniques and tools to counter disinformation.
Mutale Nkonde is the leader and founder of AI for the People, a communications firm whose mission is to use art and culture to empower general audiences to combat racial bias in technological design. Prior to starting AI for the People, Nkonde worked in AI Governance. During that time, she was part of the team that introduced the Algorithmic Accountability Act, the DEEP FAKES Accountability Act, and the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act, (reintroduced in 2021) to the US House of Representatives in 2019.
Yusuf Henriques, Founder & (CEO) of IndyGeneUS AI, a genomics company creating the world’s largest block-chain encrypted repository of indigenous and diasporic African clinical data for disease prevention and detection, drug discovery and development, clinical disease management, and precision health equity. As CEO, he leads strategic direction and partnerships as well as investor relations.
Other speakers and panelists include Professor Yanick Rice Lamb, a health and environmental journalist; Associate Professor Jennifer Thomas, a journalist and Fulbright Scholar, who speaks internationally on disinformation.
The conference will present an overview of the interdisciplinary work of the Howard University Digital Informers Dr. Bahiyyah Muhammad, Associate Professor of Criminology, Department of Sociology and Criminology; Dr. Roger Caruth, Assistant Professor, Department of Strategic Legal Management Communications; Dr. Keesha Middlemass, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science; Angela Pashayan, doctoral student, Department of Political Science and Natalie Gayles, master’s student, School of Social Work.
Register for the event here: https://howard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwtdOqopjgsGdW1pJ4FRfy-3Qk-tmImZbkR
Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021
8:45 a.m. Opening Remarks
9 a.m. Welcome Dean Gracie Lawson Border
9:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.
“Fake News” in the Current Journalism Environment
Moderator Yanick Rice Lamb
- Jennifer Thomas, Associate Professor, Howard University
- Angie Drobnic Holan, editor-in-chief, Politifact
10:20 a.m.-11:20 a.m.
Confronting Science Disinformation in the Media
Moderator: Jennifer Thomas
Flo McAfee, Environmental
Yanick Rice Lamb, Professor, Howard University
11:30 p.m.-12:30 p.m.
Independent Media as a Counterweight to Disinformation Targeted toward Communities of Color Online?”
DeVan Hankerson Madrigal, Research Manager, Center for Democracy & Technology, moderator
- Nora Benavidez, Senior Counsel and Director, Digital Justice and Civil Rights, Free Press
- Rachel Kuo, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
- Maria Rodriguez, Assistant Professor, University of Buffalo School of Social Work
- Saiph Savage, Assistant Professor, Northeastern University, Khoury College of Computer Sciences and Director of the Civic A.I. Lab
12:40 p.m.-1:40 p.m. KEYNOTE: Mutale Nkonde, Founding CEO, AI for the People
Nora Benavidez is Senior Counsel and Director, Digital Justice and Civil Rights at Free Press. She manages the organization’s efforts around platform and media accountability to defend against digital threats to democracy. In all aspects of her work, she seeks to defend the human dignity of all and overcome structural barriers to equity and justice. @attorneynora
Angie Drobnic Holan is the editor-in-chief of PolitiFact. She has extensive experience fact-checking the presidency, Congress and political campaigns, and was a reporter on the PolitiFact team that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. She serves on the advisory board of the International Fact-Checking Network. @AngieHolan
DeVan Hankerson Madrigal is the Research Manager for Center for Democracy and Technology, and an advocate for improving technology access to expand individual rights and ensuring that more people share in the benefits of technological progress. At CDT, DeVan joins a research team focused on advancing human rights and civil liberties online. @dvhankerson
Rachel Kuo researches race, social movements, and digital technologies. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life in the School of Information and Library Sciences at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her current project interrogates the concept of ‘solidarity’ across media objects and platforms and demonstrates how technologies enhance and foreclose possibilities for political organization across uneven racial and class differences. (@rachelkuo)
Yanick Rice Lamb is a Professor at the Howard University School of Communications. She is an independent health journalist, author and educator. She is co-founder of the health website FierceforBlackWomen.com, an environmental health fellow through the Fund for Investigative Journalism, and a professor in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Howard University, where she is pursuing a doctorate in medical sociology. @yrlamb
Flo McAfee is a communications strategist with cross-culture edge & environmental justice focus. Her career is a fusion of public service and private sector work in the areas of multicultural marketing, communications and community relations. She is president of Summerland Studio, LLC, a strategic communications firm providing marketing and public relations counsel, developing multicultural relationships, and building brand awareness to support strategic goals. @soukieg
Mutale Nkonde is the leader and founder of AI for the People, a communications firm whose mission is to use art and culture to empower general audiences to combat racial bias in technological design. Prior to starting AI for the People, Nkonde worked in AI Governance. During that time, she was part of the team that introduced the Algorithmic Accountability Act, the DEEP FAKES Accountability Act, and the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act, (reintroduced in 2021) to the US House of Representatives in 2019. @mutalenkonde
Maria Y. Rodriguez is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at University at Buffalo School of Social Work. She uses computational social science methods to address problems in social work, social policy and human services. She has studied questions at the intersection of social media and social justice, with research on topics including feminist hashtags, social work’s social media response to COVID-19, social media platforms used by political extremists (such as Gab), and disinformation impacting Black and brown communities.
Saiph Savage is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences where she directs the Civic A.I. Lab. Her research lab creates intelligent civic technology to organize collective action for real world change, which includes fighting disinformation, or empowering gig workers to access better jobs. Her Intelligent Civic Tech research involves the areas of: Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Crowdsourcing, and Machine Learning. @saiphcita
Jennifer C. Thomas is an Associate Professor at Howard University’s School of Communications. She is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years experience, most recently as an Executive Producer with CNN. Thomas has been honored with the 2019 Scripps Howard AEJMC Teacher of the Year Award, selected as Fulbright Specialist scholar, and has become a global advocate for media freedom. @jtmediaready
Roger Caruth is an assistant professor in the Department of Strategic, Legal and Management Communication (SLMC) of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications. He utilizes interdisciplinary approaches to cultivate effective communications strategies through theory and practice incorporating diverse and interdependent traditional, social, digital and emerging media. @rogercaruth
Aerial Ellis is an assistant professor at Lipscomb University. Her academic research assesses the intercultural competencies that senior leaders at multinational corporations need to design, implement and execute diversity and inclusion practices. She has applied this research on a global scale with experiences in Hong Kong, Finland, South Africa and Qatar.
Natalie Gayles graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University- Los Angeles with a B.A. in Sociology. She is currently a first year MSW student at Howard University- School of Social Work and is very passionate about advocating for those who face social injustices in various aspects of their lives.
Yusuf Henriques is founder and CEO of IndyGeneUS AI, a genomics company creating the world’s largest block-chain encrypted repository of indigenous and diasporic African clinical data for disease prevention and detection, drug discovery and development, clinical disease management, and precision health equity. As CEO, he leads strategic direction and partnerships as well as investor relations.
Jessica Hubbert’s work has primarily focused on studies related to social media communications, race and gender inequity, and criminal justice reform. She has researched propaganda, misinformation, and hate speech dissemination online with a team of researchers at Mississippi State University for the past two years and now works as a Research Consultant with Advisory 83.
Keesha M. Middlemass is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Howard University. Middlemass teaches courses in public policy and American Politics, and conducts research on race, institutions, public policy, and marginalized populations. Utilizing mixed methods, including ethnography, in-depth interviews, participant observation, and archival research, Middlemass focuses specifically on studying prisoner reentry, the politics of punishment, and racial justice.
Bahiyyah Muhammad’s particular area of expertise rests in the lived experiences of children of incarcerated parents. She has spent the last decade of her criminal justice career conducting ethnographic work about children ages 7 – 18, living in urban communities throughout New Jersey, who have experienced the loss of one or both of their parents to the prison system. She is currently founding a non-profit organization to address the dynamic concerns faced by children of the incarcerated.
Angela R. Pashayan is at the end of her Ph.D. studies, at Howard University, in Political Science/International Relations with emphasis on Poverty Reduction in the slums of Kenya. She graduated with Honors from Norwich University, VT – MA International Relations and Diplomacy with a minor in International Commerce. Her undergraduate degree is from UCLA in Psychology, with an exchange semester in London at Richmond.
Angela Patterson is career communicator with more than 15 years experience in journalism and organizational communications. She has a passion for media, technology, and understanding how we experience God in the midst of at all. Her research focuses on media effects on the spiritual lives of youth as well as those of all ages from marginalized communities.
Friday October 1, 2021
Knight Foundation: HU Digital Informers
9:45 a.m. Opening Remarks
HU Digital Informers Graduate Students: Angela Pashayan and Natalie Gayles
11pm-12:00pm SPEAKER – Yusuf Henriques
Digital Democracy and the Black Vote
HU Digital Informers: Dr. Keesha Middlemass, Dr. Bahiyyah Muhammad and Dr. Roger Caruth,
Social Media Handles
#CHSOC Cathy Hughes School of Communications
#BLKVOTE #HUD3 #DigitalDemocracy