What Happened At An Academic Expert Disinformation Summit

What Happened At An Academic Expert Disinformation Summit

We—but not Anon, who reports below—missed the Cambridge Disinformation Summit, held the last week of July (Videoes).

Conference organizers described their sensitivity soirée thusly:

Strategic disinformation is an accelerant for major societal problems such as climate change, extremism, polarisation, fraud, and suppression of rights. It is exploited across all information dissemination platforms, including social media, news media, financial and non-financial reporting, and other broadcast vehicles.


That “suppression of rights” bit is also curious, given that the Feds cooperated, or should one say directed, social media companies to suppress speech and cancel its enemies, as the Twitter Files revealed (and that’s a Guardian link, friends).

It is natural the FBI, CIA and the like should do this, because as I’ve said too many times, in order for there to be Official Disinformation there must necessarily be Official Truths, and thus there will be an agency or agencies in charge of producing, promulgating, and policing them. Police them they did, and well, in 2020 (and of course before and after). It was one of their vote fortification tricks.

The USA does not labor alone. This kind of thing Expert control of discourse occurs all over the world. In China, as almost goes without saying; in Ireland, the Netherlands, UK, and so on and such forth. Governments are, after all, in the business of defining Official Truths. Which is dandy fine, as long as those Official Truths are true.

Alas, et cetera, et cetera.

Believe me, I am more weary of repeating all this than you are of hearing it. What we want to know is if these fine Expert academics, people who have made careers from studying Disinformation, and self-label as Experts, would discuss this most important facet of this most consequential topic—none more consequential in an Expertocracy, the (not-so) secret move by rulers to police speech in social media?

Far as I can figure out, they did not. Not our sense. In anything, they were for it, and wanted more such policing. How odd.

Anon gutted out the conference for us. He reports (I’ve edited it slightly, with Anon’s approval, to remove any possible identifying information):

The summit was embarrassing. The speakers talked about easy topics, and they all agreed with one another. It was obvious that they represented the mainstream left wing. There was no challenge or criticism. A few speakers came from the private sector but they were clearly there for decoration.

If academics want to do something about “disinformation” they should clean up their own act. They should improve editorial quality in their journals. How many studies are based on manipulated data? How many studies don’t replicate? Academic publishing is filled with garbage. Fix the mess in publishing before you complain about social media.

Then they should purge the colleges and universities of the charlatans. Get rid of tenure and fire the frauds. But are the academics who showed up here ever going to reform themselves? Nope. If academia had rigorous standards, half of the professors speaking at the summit wouldn’t have been hired as researchers to start with. They want to keep their privileges and tell the rest of us what to do. They don’t want any consequences for themselves.

Anon also says “There is going to be another summit at the University of Zurich, where research and policy proposals will be presented.”

The keynote of the conference was from that big-jawed Facebook “whistleblower” Frances Haugen, whose message was there was not enough censorship of Official Disinformation.

Frances became increasingly alarmed by the choices the company makes prioritizing their own profits over public safety and putting people’s lives at risk…claiming that the company has been misleading the public and investors on how it handles issues such as climate change, misinformation, and hate speech, and the impact of its services on the mental health of children and young adults.

The organizer (on YT’s page) said Official Disinformation “killed” his nephew. (Maybe the Fabulous Fauci’s corpus of papers dropped on the nephew’s head?)

I was curious enough to click on a few of the participants. Clicking Jessica Zucker’s name brings us to the headline “Meta’s Jessica Zucker joins Ofcom to power the drive for online safety”. What an easy job. Since unless you’re using your computer in a pool during a thunderstorm being online poses no risks whatsoever.

One Joshua Braun, Associate Professor of Journalism, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has a peer-reviewed paper “Activism, Advertising, and Far-Right Media: The Case of Sleeping Giants“. Which opens ” This study examines the international activist movement known as Sleeping Giants, a social-media ‘campaign to make bigotry and sexism less profitable’…”

I got bored of looking after that. We’ll let Anon have the last, and most apt, word:

After attending the summit, I have been convinced that professors should be more heavily regulated. Professors who abuse their positions should be jailed – the same penalty we give to bad bankers.

Academia is a civilizational threat. I am not exaggerating at all.

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  1. We’re back to making me King of England so I can disestablish all the universities and confiscate their wealth for the King’s treasury and the worldwide crusade against scientism.

  2. Terese

    I have never attended any gathering like this, but was always suspicious it would be as Anon described. How very sad for the world we live in, the “information age” that we have this heavy handed body overseeing or at least attempting to oversee and spoon feed what they deem the correct information. Yuck!

  3. BadThinker

    Bad bankers don’t end up in jail if they donate to the Correct politicians…

  4. Steve

    el gato malo had a related post a couple days ago. I’ll repeat my suggestion here: What we need to do to weed out Official Disinformation is just look at the difference between a presumptively censored platform’s distribution and a presumptively uncensored platform’s distribution given the same inputs.

    If a given message goes to roughly the same percentage of followers (ideally, 100%) whether on Twitter (x), Truth, Gab, whatever Zuckerberg did, etc., we can assume it’s not a part of the Official Disinformation. It’s the differential that’s important. In an uncensored platform, we still need to find the needle in the haystack. If we have a censored platform, though, everything allowed through on the censored platform is hay. The difference between the two distributions is the pile of needles. Their option will be to allow the more “dangerous” needles (from their POV) to slip through their censorship, which is probably good enough for our purposes anyway. We are no worse off than having the whole needle/haystack problem in the first place.

  5. berk berks

    “Professors who abuse their positions should be jailed – the same penalty we give to bad bankers.”

    nice sentiment, but in the u.s., not one banker when to jail because of the 2008 shenanigans. in fact, they were rewarded with big fat bonuses on top of billions in bailout shekels.

  6. Johnno

    Given recent FBI revelations, the Traditional Catholics are the prime suspects and vector spreaders of Officially Defined Dis-Mis-Mal-information, what with all that Adam and Eve Male/Female Malarkey, and that’s only the start! The bonus hole goes further, all the way down to finally demanding a God-King to rule over them; what a blatant ingratitudal offense to the peaceful universally accepted rule based order of Global Democracy!

  7. Cary D Cotterman

    Academic conferences of this sort, along with peer review, are nothing but ideological in-group screening and massaging.

  8. Hagfish Bagpipe

    I vote Pate for King of England.

  9. Hagfish Bagpipe

    And Johnno as Vice Bonus-Hole.

  10. @Hagfish Bagpipe – there will be none of that voting stuff and nonsense when I’m King! Nearest you’ll get to that will be Trial By Combat.

  11. Milton Hathaway

    berk berks: “not one bad banker went to jail because of the 2008 shenanigans”

    You are parroting the liberal media party line of the time, “predatory lending targeting low-income homebuyers”. The real story is actually far more interesting. As a teaser, ask yourself how exactly these “bad bankers” planned to get rich writing bad paper on overpriced houses?

    As with any question of real-world economics, you can’t go wrong starting with Thomas Sowell:


  12. Forbes

    If you want or need another example of a like-kind of professionals completely out of their depth, follow this physician’s trip to the 23rd World Vaccine Congress event in Washington last April.

    You might have to read it twice to actually absorb the insanity present and presented. It’s a little long–but even after having followed Briggs all through the three years of pandemic nonsense, this conference was jaw-droppingly, mind-bogglingly nuts.


  13. The True Nolan

    @BadThinker: “Bad bankers don’t end up in jail if they donate to the Correct politicians…”

    It’s even simpler than that. They just donate to BOTH sides. No need to even figure out who is “correct”.

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