Type: Public event

Duterte’s Facebook-Fueled Rise to Power: Manipulating Public Opinion to Capture an Election

Wallace House Presents Davey Alba of The New York Times and 2019 Livingston Award winner

Date & time

Jan 29, 2020, 4:00-5:30 pm EST


Weill Hall, Annenberg Auditorium
735 S. State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Free and open to the public. Event will be livestreamed here

Join the Conversation
In 2018, journalist Davey Alba traveled to the Philippines to investigate Facebook’s breakneck proliferation in that country and President Rodrigo Duterte’s rise to power. She revealed how the politician’s incendiary style aligned perfectly with the tech company’s algorithms that reward entertaining, inflammatory content. From maligning opponents to espousing hardline policies to combat the drug trade, Duterte’s operatives created memes, propaganda and egregious libel that flourished on Facebook.

Join Alba, Professor Ceren Budak from the School of Information, and the Ford School's Molly Kleinman for an examination of how demagogic political campaigns worldwide have weaponized social media platforms.

About the Speakers
Davey Alba
is a reporter for The New York Times covering technology. Prior to joining the Times, she was a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News. She has been a staff writer at Wired and an editor at Popular Mechanics. Alba grew up in the Philippines and holds a B.A. degree from De La Salle University in Manila and an M.A. in science journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She received the 2019 Livingston Award for international reporting for her BuzzFeed investigation How Duterte Used Facebook to Fuel the Philippine Drug War."

Ceren Budak is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. Her research interests lie in the area of computational social science; a discipline at the intersection of computer science, statistics, and the social sciences. She is particularly interested in applying large scale data analysis techniques to study problems with social, political, and policy implications. Ceren recieved her PhD from the Computer Science Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a bachelor's degree from the Computer Science Department at Bilkent University in Turkey in 2007. 

Molly Kleinman, moderator, is the Program Manager of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. She studies higher education policy, access to information, and faculty experiences with technology. Molly received her Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy from the University of Michigan Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, her M.S. in Information from the University of Michigan School of Information, and her B.A. in English and Gender Studies from Bryn Mawr College. 

This Livingston Lecture event is co-sponsored by the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and produced with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.