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IDeaS Conference 2021

Monday, July 12, 2021 to Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Event Details

The Center for Informed Democracy and Social-cybersecurity Annual Conference Registration  is Now Open!
2021 IDeaS Conference

Conference Dates: July 12-13, 2021
Conference Webpage: (frequent updates between now and the conference dates)
Registration link:
IDeaS uses for event registration. If you have any questions, please e-mail

Submission Deadline: June 1, 2021
Submission link:


Natural disasters, elections, climate changes, insurrections, pandemics, and new technologies are rocking the world. People talk about events, both these massive ones and much smaller ones, on line. Social media platforms, search engines and websites have become the window through which these events are viewed and interpreted.  Those on social media seek and shape information, build and join communities, often with impacts in the physical world. One consequence is an online breeding ground for growing and disseminating disinformation, hate speech and extremism.  In this conference we ask: How is this done?  Who is doing it? Why is it being done? What are the social consequences? How can it be countered?

IDeaS will host a virtual conference on disinformation, hate speech, and extremism online in July 2021. This conference aims to advance the science of social-cybersecurity through research and applications in this area.  

We invite papers that address questions related to disinformation, hate speech and extremism online. We are particularly interested in papers that touch on the role that disinformation, hate speech and extremism are playing in events such as the vaccine roll out, presidential elections around the world, civil conflict, and community resilience. Policy, empirical, qualitative, data science and simulation papers are of equal interest.  

The virtual conference will include: invited panels, virtual posters, and regular talks. There will also be the opportunity for those interested to demo their technologies.

Short papers, 4-6 pages, in the format listed on the webpage should be submitted via Easychair by June 1, 2021. Technology demos should be proposed by submitting a 1-2 page description of the technology.

All papers will be reviewed. Selected papers will be nominated for an extended version to be submitted to an edited volume on disinformation, and/or to a special issue of the journal – Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory.

Submit Proposal Here

Proposals for posters open to all graduate students associated with the Knight Research Network.

IDeaS 2021 Conference Keynote
Monday, July 12 1:00-245pm EDT 

Richard Stengel
Former Under secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Former Editor, Time Magazine

Richard Stengel is an NBC and MSNBC political analyst. His recent book, Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It, is based on his time as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Obama administration. While at the State Department, he helped modernize State’s communications and led the department’s efforts to counter the global rise of disinformation. He helped create and oversee the Global Engagement Center, the United States’ only entity tasked with fighting the global information war. Stengel also oversaw the department’s communications and also State’s extensive educational exchanges, including the Fulbright Scholarship. 

Stengel was the editor of TIME from 2006 until 2013, where he oversaw all print, digital and international operations. During his time there he turned the brand into a global digital player and won Magazine of the Year award in 2012 as well as an Emmy award. Stengel is the author of several books in addition to Information Wars, including the New York Times best-seller Mandela’s Way about his time collaborating with Nelson Mandela on the South African leader’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. 

Panel Discussions

Panel #1 -Platform Accountability

Monday, July 12 11-12:45pm EDT

Moderator: Dr. David Danks - Louis Leon (L. L.) Thurstone Professor of Philosophy & Psychology. Head, Department of Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon University

Alexander Hart -Vice President at Freedman Consulting
Nina Jankowicz – Global Fellow, Wilson Center
Chris Riley- Senior Fellow of Internet Governance, R Street

Panel #2 - Disinformation

Monday, July 12 2:45-4:15 EDT

Moderator: Dr. Mark S. Kamlet - Interim Director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy, the University Professor of Economics and Public Policy, and Provost Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon

Dr. Kathleen M. Carley - Professor, Institute for Software Research Director, Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems (CASOS),and Director, Center for Informed DEmocracy and Social cybersecurity (IDeaS) at Carnegie Mellon University
David Agronovich, Director for Global Threat Disruption, Facebook 
Dr. Kate Starbird -Associate Professor, Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE), University of Washington

Panel #3-Extremism Online

Tuesday, July 13 11:00-12:45

Moderator: Dr. John Slattery - Directing Fellow, Carl G. Grefenstette Center for Ethics in Science, Technology, and Law at Duquesne University

Lucy Calladine -Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager, Google
Major Jessica Dawson - Assistant Professor Director of Excel Scholars Program, West Point
Todd Helmus - Senior Behavioral Scientist, RAND

Panel #4- Hate Speech

Tuesday, July 13 1:00-2:45

Moderator: Dr. Kathleen Blee - Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean, Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences, University of Pittsburgh University of Pittsburgh

Jenny Li - Program Manager, Microsoft
Emma Llansó - Director, Free Expression Project, Center for Democracy and Technology 
Zeerak Waseem - PhD Candidate, University of Sheffield

Registration Fees

Graduate Students: $50
Faculty: $100
Industry: $200
Government: $200

Available Scholarships

There are a limited number of scholarships for PhD students who are women and/or minorities from the US. Conference participants can apply for Graduate Student Scholarships during registration. Level of participation in the conference, need, and diversity will be considered when reviewing applications. Maximum scholarship awarded is $50 to offset cost of attendance.


General Conference Schedule


Start Time End Time Event

9:45am     10:45       Concurrent Paper Sessions

10:45         11:00       BREAK

11:00         12:45pm Panel Discussion - Platform Accountability

12:45         1:00         BREAK

1:00           2:45         Keynote

2:45           4:15         Panel Discussion - Disinformation

4:15           4:30         BREAK

4:30           5:30         Concurrent Paper Sessions

5:30           5:45         BREAK

5:455         6:45         Reception


Start Time End Time Event

10:00am   11:00       Concurrent Paper Sessions

11:00         12:45pm Panel Discussion - Domestic Extremism

12:45         1:00         BREAK

1:00           2:45         Panel Discussion - Hate Speech

2:45           3:00         BREAK

3:00           5:15         Knight Fellow Research Presentations

A detailed program will be published on our conference website

Register for the Conference    Learn More