Big, If True Webinar Series

The BIG, If True webinar series is an ongoing conversation driven by the Technology and Social Change Research Project at the Shorenstein Center, inspired by the monumental societal and technical shifts happening as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinars focus on media manipulation, disinformation, and the future of democracy during a pandemic. They include researchers from the TaSC team and across Harvard Kennedy School, along side journalists and other topical experts.

Learn more about the Technology and Social Change Research Project>

Upcoming Events

  • Big, If True Webinar: New Year, Fresh Threats

    In this week’s episode of BIG, If True, our host Joan Donovan, PhD asks: what can mis- and disinformation scholars learn from the security studies field? What happens when security threats are inflated by governments? And how do security scholars…

    Friday, January 29, 2021
    12:00 pm
    1:00 pm EST

Past Events

Big, If True Webinar: The Fight to Ban Facial Recognition Technology: Protest in the Era of Mass Surveillance

Friday, July 31, 2020 - On this episode of BIG, If True we delve into the formidable struggle against the deployment of facial recognition technology. In light of the recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests, there are distressing concerns that facial recognition software is being used to target and catalogue people engaging in protected speech and assembly. Given the ...
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Big, If True Webinar: Fighting a Two-Front War: Censorship and Disinformation in Southeast Asia

Friday, July 10, 2020 - This episode of BIG, If True reflects on the hybrid battles being waged by journalists, activists, and dissidents against censorship and disinformation in Southeast Asia. The discussion traces the genesis of the recent attacks on the freedom to expression, from the rise and fall of the Anti-Fake News Act in Malaysia to the conviction of ...
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Big, If True Webinar: Beyond Cyberspace: Security in a Networked World

Friday, June 12, 2020 - In this episode, BIG, If True welcomes Lodrina Cherne, a digital forensics expert and Instructor at the SANS Institute in conversation with Joseph Menn, an investigative reporter on Cybersecurity at Reuters and Josephine Wolff, PhD an assistant professor of cybersecurity policy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. In this moment of ...
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Big, If True Webinar: Science is Politics by Other Means

Friday, May 29, 2020 - In this episode of BIG, If True we’ll discuss the politicization of science and technology, looking closely at controversies about preprints, scientific articles posted to archives before they have been peer reviewed. In recent months, preprints have become a prefered way to get new findings into the hands of other scientists quickly, allowing researchers around ...
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Big, If True Webinar: The Trouble with Science

Friday, May 15, 2020 - This week on BIG, If True our host Joan Donovan dives into the promises and perils of communicating science to public audiences. While trust in our politicians and the press has waned in recent years, trust in scientists has remained remarkably steady. However, as we chart out new uncertainties and complex facts and figures in ...
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Big, If True Webinar: Technologies of the Far-Right

Friday, May 1, 2020 - Do you ever wonder why certain technologies get made and others don’t? Most of the time the problem is resources, other times it’s because of breakthrough innovation, but in every case it’s also about politics. From “not in my backyard” campaigns shutting down nuclear power to activists fighting back against facial recognition, technology is a ...
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BIG, If True: The Steak-umm Interview

"Big, If True" is a webinar series from the Technology and Social Change Research Project at the Shorenstein Center. Hosted by Dr. Joan Donovan, the series focuses on media manipulation, disinformation, and the future of democracy during a pandemic. In this special episode, Dr. Donovan talks with Jesse Bender, a manager for Steak-umm' Twitter account, about the brand's recent success ...
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Big, If True Webinar: Two Truths and a Lie: Misinformation and Public Health

Friday, April 24, 2020 - This week Big, If True welcomed Ashish Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute in conversation with Setti Warren, Executive Director of the Shorenstein Center and former Mayor of Newton MA. What do public health advocates need to know about misinformation research? Like our hospitals, our information systems are completely overwhelmed with questions, ranging ...
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Big, If True Webinar: Race, Xenophobia, and COVID-19

Friday, April 17, 2020 - This webinar explores how COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities, fueled xenophobia, and harmed marginalized groups. How can policymakers, civil society, and media mitigate against discrimination by shining a light on health disparities? What does xenophobia look like in a time of social distancing? How has misinformation and disinformation inflamed these divides? And what can journalists ...
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Big, If True Webinar: What is “Zoom Bombing?” Media Manipulation and Sociotechnical Vulnerabilities

Friday, April 3, 2020 - The Shorenstein Center's Technology and Social Change Research Team describes the phenomenon of “zoom bombing,” the act of hijacking a virtual meeting, and its consequences. While many of us did not expect to spend the Spring cloistered at home in virtual meetings, our rapid adoption of Zoom has exposed some serious design flaws, raising the ...
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