(Washington, DC) – On September 17, scholars, policymakers and representatives from major social media platforms will meet at the Federal Election Commission’s headquarters in Washington to discuss how best to combat digital disinformation in the run-up to the 2020 election season. The daylong symposium – hosted by FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub, PEN America, and Stanford’s Global Digital Policy Incubator – is designed to frame and understand the risks and challenges posed by misleading ads, posts, and messages and how that disinformation could impact the upcoming campaign and election.

WHAT: “Digital Disinformation and the Threat to Democracy: Information Integrity in the 2020 Elections

WHEN: Tuesday, September 17 from 9am until 12:45pm

WHO: Remarks from Sen. Mark Warner, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff; additional confirmed speakers include Ellen Weintraub, chair of the US Federal Election Commission; Suzanne Nossel, PEN America CEO; Eileen Donahoe, Stanford University’s Global Digital Policy Incubator executive director; Ginny Badanes of Microsoft; Graphika’s Camille Francois; Twitter’s Kevin Kane; Lou Jacobson, PolitiFact senior correspondent; Nate Miller of Avaaz; Laura Rosenberger of the Alliance for Securing Democracy; Google’s Clement Wolf; and Kara Swisher, The New York Times writer and editor-at-large for Recode.

WHERE: Federal Election Commission, Hearing Room, 1050 First St. NE, Washington DC 20463


8:00: Doors open
8:30 – 9:00: Coffee & registration
9:00 – 9:10: Introduction: Framing the challenge
9:10 – 9:45: Keynote: Senator Mark Warner of Virginia
9:45 – 11:00: Session 1 Understanding the global challenge: How disinformation and new technologies affect the way people think & what we have learned from the international experience
11:00 – 12:45: Session 2: Facing the challenge in the U.S.:  Solutions in the fight to save the 2020 elections
12:45 – 1:00: Closing and next steps

Members of the media are invited to attend. Please respond to Stephen Fee at [email protected] by noon Monday, September 16 to request credentials. The session will also be available as a livestream here.

Afterward, the symposium organizers will distribute a list of recommendations and calls to action addressed political actors, tech companies, journalists and policy makers.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. PEN America is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.