Skip to the main content

The Breakdown: A video series from BKC

Through brief interviews, The Breakdown shares an inside look into how members of the Berkman Klein Center community are working on and grappling with difficult topics, and brings in peer experts to discuss and break down these complicated issues. 

The first season of The Breakdown focuses on disinformation and features guests from the Assembly fellows, student fellows, and forum.

Renée DiResta on Misinformation

In this interview, Oumou Ly, an Assembly: Disinformation staff fellow at the Berkman Klein Center, is joined by Renée DiResta of the Stanford Internet Observatory, to discuss what can be learned about disinformation from the current pandemic. The duo explores questions related to authoritative sources, how platforms manage and moderate false health information, and how harassment and disinformation are interwoven. Read more on Medium.

evelyn douek on doctored media, platform response and responsibility

In this episode, Oumou Ly is joined by evelyn douek, an affiliate at BKC and S.J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School, to discuss manipulated media, platform takedown policies, and responsibility of platforms to society when doctored content stands to distort public perceptions of truth. Ly and douek are both participants of the Berkman Klein Center’s Assembly program, which currently focuses on topics relating to disinformation. Read more on Medium.

Claire Wardle on journalism and disinformation

In this episode, Oumou Ly is joined by Claire Wardle, co-founder and director of First Draft, and a member of the Assembly Forum. Wardle shares insight into how disinformation and conspiracy theories move from online spheres to gain coverage in mainstream media, advice for journalists on engaging in debunking and fact-checking work, and the challenge of reporting on disinformation.. Read more on Medium.

Brian Scully on government response to disinformation

In this episode, Oumou Ly interviews Brian Scully of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and a 2019–20 member of the Assembly professional fellowship cohort to discuss how DHS is responding to the pandemic and preparing for the 2020 election, and what Scully has learned from the 2016 election. Read more on Medium.

Jonathan Zittrain reflects on 2019–2020 Assembly program, disinformation

This episode of The Breakdown featuring Oumou Ly in conversation with Professor Jonathan Zittrain, is shared in two parts. Part one delves into the Berkman Klein Center’s Assembly program — which focused on disinformation from a cybersecurity perspective for the 2019–2020 year — and some of the big challenges that surfaced from Assembly work this year. Part two explores disinformation in the context of trust and platforms, and looks ahead at Assembly in the future. Read more on Medium.

Daphne Keller explains the Communications Decency Act

In this episode of The Breakdown, Oumou Ly is joined by Daphne Keller of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center to discuss the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, content moderation and Big Tech platforms, and recent events that propelled them into the spotlight in recent months. Read more on Medium

Naima Green-Riley on Foreign Interference and the U.S. 2020 Election

Concerns about election interference and disinformation are rampant in the weeks before the U.S. presidential election on November 3. In this episode, Oumou Ly interviews Naima Green-Riley, a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University. Ly and Green-Riley review recent foreign interference, the weaponization of social issues, and various platform interventions to mitigate the spread of mis- and disinformation ahead of the election. Read more on Medium.

Joan Donovan on Domestic Misinformation

The 2020 US election was marked by misinformation and bad actors stemming from domestic sources. In this episode of The Breakdown, Oumou Ly is joined by Joan Donovan, the director of The Technology and Social Change Project (TaSC) at Harvard Kennedy School. Read more on Medium.

Lisa Kaplan on Domestic Disinformation


From 2016 to 2020, research, civil society organizing efforts, industry planning, and national security responses to disinformation centered on the issue from the perspective that malign influence was propagated almost exclusively by foreign adversaries. This thinking was upended to a large extent in 2020 when disinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the presidential election, and other sustained-attention information events exposed the severity of the threat posed by domestic disinformation.

In this episode of the Breakdown, Oumou Ly is joined by Lisa Kaplan to further unpack what accounts for the shift in focus, whether stakeholders might consider adjusting mitigations already deployed to combat disinformation, and assess how current organizing around the disinformation problem can be reevaluated and repurposed to suit new challenges. Read more on Medium.

You might also like

Projects & Tools 01


Assembly: Disinformation

The Assembly: Disinformation Program brings together participants from academia, industry, government, and civil society from across disciplines to explore and make progress on…