Forum on Social Media Disinformation and Election Interference

As the 2020 election approaches, nothing is a bigger threat to our democracy than the prospect of illicit interference compromising the vote.  Foreign and domestic election interference, disinformation, and voter suppression efforts proliferate on social media, and the platforms have utterly failed to address the threat. 

The Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics hosted a forum featuring policymakers and other leaders from the U.S. and around the world and provided an opportunity for legislators and experts to discuss the consequences of digital platforms’ misinformation negligence on free and fair elections on Monday, June 29 at 10:00 a.m. EDT.

This forum featured U.S. and international lawmakers and leaders at the forefront of protecting the vote and democratic integrity.  Witnesses fighting for ballot access and press freedom – and against racial disenfranchisement – outlined the gravity of the threat and where we go from here.

The GW event series was held in cooperation with the members of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation, a consortium of legislators working to protect consumers from social media disinformation.


Foreign and government interference panel:

  • Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman, U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
  • Dominic LeBlanc, member of Parliament, Canada
  • Marina Kaljurand, member (Estonia), European Parliament
  • Maria Ressa, CEO and executive editor, Rappler
  • Sasha Havlicek, CEO, Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD)


Transition remarks:

  • Stacey Abrams, founder, Fair Fight; former Democratic leader, Georgia House of Representatives


Voter suppression and democratic integrity panel:

  • Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, member, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
  • Phumzile van Damme, member of Parliament, Republic of South Africa
  • Jocelyn Benson, Michigan secretary of state
  • Kailee Scales, managing director, Black Lives Matter Global Network
  • Hector Sanchez Barba, executive director and CEO, Mi Familia Vota



  • Frank Sesno, director, GW School of Media and Public Affairs


Event collateral:

  • Panelist bios can be found here.
  • Tech Transparency Project Election Interference report can be found here.


Further reading on election interfernce:

Further reading on voter suppression: