International Grand Committee on Disinformation

Virtual Summer Sessions


Summer 2020

In light of COVID-19-driven travel restrictions and distancing requirements in the summer of 2020, the ICG postponed planned in-person hearings in favor of three sessions co-hosted with The George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics and focused on the damage that platform-hosted hate speech and disinformation are doing to political systems and vulnerable communities.  Participants included senior government officials from the U.S. and Europe, influential political figures and representatives of a diverse array of activist organizations. 

The first event in the series, featuring U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová, focused on false and misleading content on the COVID-19 pandemic, and the profits platforms earn from its spread.  During the panel discussions, medical professionals addressed the challenge of combatting two viruses at once: COVID-19, and the “infodemic” that surrounds it. 

At the second event, attendees heard, among others, Congressman Adam Schiff and Canadian MP and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc offer their perspectives on the dangers disinformation and hate speech pose to election integrity around the world. Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight, called for social media platforms to be held responsible for the those who use their platforms to disrupt elections.  A second panel, including U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, South African PM Phumzile van Damme, and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson highlighted the work they have done to combat election disinformation voter disenfranchisement. And witnesses Kailee Scales, Managing Director of Black Lives Matter Global Network, and Héctor Sánchez Barba, Executive Director and CEO of Mi Familia Vota, highlighted the ways in which disinformation and online threats target and disproportionately impact Black, Latinx, and immigrant communities.

For the final event, U.S. policymakers Senator Tammy Baldwin, Representative Jackie Speier and Former Governor Christine Todd Whitman were joined by German MP Renate Künast, “Fix the Glitch” founder and executive director Seyi Akiwowo and Color of Change vice president Arisha Hatch to discuss their personal and professional experiences with hateful and misogynistic content on social media. 

Harms of COVID-19 Misinformation – June 16, 2020


Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the US House of Representatives

Věra Jourová
European Commission VP

David Cicilline
US House of Representatives

Patty Murray
US Senate

Damian Collins o United Kingdom - MP

Jan Schakowsky
US House of Representatives

Richard Blumenthal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith
Canada - MP

Election Interference & Voter Suppression – June 29, 2020


Rep. Adam Schiff - @AdamSchiff
House Committee on Intelligence

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono - @maziehirono
Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Stacey Abrams - @staceyabrams
Former Georgia House of Representatives leader

Jocelyn Benson - @JocelynBenson
Michigan secretary of state

Dominic LeBlanc - @DLeBlancNB
Canadian MP

Maria Ressa - @MariaRessa
Journalist and CEO, Rappler, Philippines

Phumzile van Damme - @zilevandamme
Parliament, Republic of South Africa

Sasha Havlicek - @SashaZHav
CEO, Institute for Strategic Dialogue

Kailee Scales - @KaileeScales
Managing Director, Black Lives Matter

Héctor Sánchez Barba - @Hesanche
CEO, Mi Vota Familia

Frank Sesno - @franksesno
GW School of Media and Public Affairs (moderator)

Misogyny & Hate Speech – Session 3 - August 6, 2020


Tammy Baldwin

Jackie Speier

Christine Todd Whitman
Former governor of NJ, President of The Whitman Strategy Group

Renate Künast
Member of the German Bundestag

Seyi Akiwowo
Founder & Executive Director of Glitch

Media Coverage

  • ABC News - Adam Schiff accuses social media companies of misinformation negligence
  • ABC News - Social media platforms are profiting from COVID-19 misinformation: Nancy Pelosi