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The new age of disinformation and radicalisation

Date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 17:00 - 18:00
Speaker: Julia Ebner (Institute for Strategic Dialogue)
Location: Online
Series: Public outreach event
Host: Tom Henzinger

The corona pandemic has given rise to a staggering infodemic that spreads even faster than the virus itself. Conspiracy theory-driven protests against corona measures have gained traction in the US, Europe and Australia. Across the world, vast mask-free crowds have been descending into the streets to demonstrate against lockdowns, masks, and vaccines. As we watched from our homes, extremist groups and conspiracy theory movements exploited widespread fears and frustrations around the pandemic to advance their own goals and recruit from new audiences. For her second book Going Dark Julia Ebner spent two years undercover in a dozen extremist movements -- from ISIS hacking groups to white nationalists and female misogynists. She was also embedded within the networks of QAnon, which has become a driving force behind the anti-corona protests. Julia Ebner will give insights into her work and what can be done to prevent that we further distance ourselves from scientifically-based solutions. 

Julia Ebner is the author of the bestselling books Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists and The Rage: The Vicious Circle of Islamist and Far-Right Extremism. Her books won the Bruno-Kreisky-Preis for the Political Book of the Year 2018 and the Award for the Science Book of the Year 2020 (Wissenschaftsbuch des Jahres 2020). She is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, where she leads projects on online radicalisation, disinformation and hate speech. Julia has acted as a consultant for the UN, NATO, and the World Bank and is currently doing a DPhil at Oxford University. Her journalism has appeared in the Guardian, Independent, Prospect and Newsweek.


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