Episode 73

Published on:

20th May 2023

Interview with Renée DiResta: Online Ecosystems, Disinformation, & Censorship Debates

We are joined by Renée DiResta a writer and researcher at the Stanford Internet Observatory. Renée has done a lot of interesting work on disinformation and influence campaigns. Including leading an investigation into the Russian Internet Research Agency’s multi-year effort to manipulate American society in the lead-up to the 2016 election. More recently she was dubbed by the writer/conspiracy theorist, Michael Shellenberger, as the leader of 'The Censorship Industry'.

In short, Renée stands accused of serving as an agent of the Distributed Idea Suppression Complex defending the Gated Institutional Narrative. So being good DISC soldiers ourselves we had to follow our orders and host our exalted leader.

We discuss all of this with her and a range of other topics including how important algorithms and bots are in disinformation networks, whether contemporary influence campaigns are really anything new, and how to address debates around censorship and free speech.

We enjoyed the discussion a lot and are sure that you will too... or else...

Also covered in this episode: Eric Weinstein's suggestions for Twitter CEO, evidence of Lex Fridman's pilled brain, and a rather confusing review.


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About the Podcast

Decoding the Gurus
A psychologist and an anthropologist try to make sense of the world's greatest self-declared Gurus.
An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of 'secular gurus', iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights.

Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all... What's it all About?

Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur?

Join us and let's find out!
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About your hosts

Christopher Kavanagh

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A Northern Irish cognitive anthropologist who occasionally moonlights as a social psychologist. Chris has long standing interests in the psychology of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience. His academic research focuses on the Cognitive Science of Religion and ritual psychology. He lives happily in Japan with his family.

Matthew Browne

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An Australian psychologist and numbers-guy. He does research on all kinds of stuff, but particularly enjoys looking into why people believe the things they do: religion, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine and stuff. He's into social media in the same way people slow down for car accidents.