OP-ED: Israel Can – and Must – Fight Hamas Without Starving Gazan Civilians to Death

Israel's sluggish delivery of food aid to Gaza is unconscionable: It is tantamount to torturing civilians, and it is turning even longtime friends into appalled critics. But Israel can relieve this needless suffering, without helping Hamas

We study dangerous speech and ways to counteract it.

Dangerous Speech: A Practical Guide

People don’t commit violence against other groups - or even condone it - spontaneously. First they must be taught to see other people as pests, vermin, aliens, or threats. Malicious leaders often use the same types of rhetoric to do this, in myriad cultures, languages, countries, and historical periods. We call this Dangerous Speech. Violence might be prevented by making it less abundant or less convincing. We work to find the best ways to do this – while protecting freedom of expression.


Democracy experts’ amicus brief in Trump v. Anderson

This brief cites “The Insidious Creep of Violent Rhetoric”, Executive Director Susan Benesch’s essay for Noema, in which she illustrates that it's possible to incite violence very effectively without directly calling for it. Her work supports the amicus brief, which explores how the events surrounding the 2020 U.S. election and the violence on January 6, 2021 relate to events that have caused democratic erosion and collapse in other countries.

Counterspeech: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Countering Dangerous Speech

Director of Research Cathy Buerger and Professor Joshua Garland discuss the importance of research collaborations like their project on AI and counterspeech.

Blog + News

Can AI Rescue Democracy? Nope, It’s Not Funny Enough

Online debate shouldn’t be outsourced to AI, even though there’s excited buzz about this prospect, and several university teams are building AI tools to respond to digital hatred.

“How to Build a Truth Engine” Documentary To Debut at SXSW

Disinformation and conspiracy theories have reached a level unwitnessed since the turmoil of the 1930s. This documentary portrays experts from the fields of technology, journalism, folklore and neuroscience – including DSP Executive Director Susan Benesch – who show that if you hack the information feed, you can hack somebody’s mind.