The Design 4 Democracy Coalition is a growing group of democracy and human rights organizations around the world that is committed to ensuring that the technology industry embraces democracy as a core design principle. Coming from a diverse collection of regions, political ideologies and backgrounds, the Coalition is united in a shared commitment that technology platforms and products should help build a more just and democratic world. The public square is increasingly digital. More than ever, political views and identities are formed online. By developing a forum for coordination and support within the democracy community on technology issues, and by creating an institutional channel for communication between the democracy community and the tech industry, the Design 4 Democracy Coalition is working to strengthen democracy in the digital age.

News and Events

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D4D Coalition Advisory Board Stands in Solidarity with Fellow Member Maria Ressa and Rappler

The Design 4 Democracy Coalition Advisory Board stands in solidarity with our fellow member Maria Ressa and with Rappler, the leading independent online news outlet in the Philippines. Ressa and Rappler Holdings were formally indicted on November 29, 2018, on charges of tax evasion—the latest action by the Philippine government in attempting to thwart the work of Rappler’s journalists—and Ressa turned herself into authorities and posted bail this week.

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D4D Coalition Launches to Help Make Tech Work for Democracy

Supported by NDI and more than a dozen other international partners, the Design 4 Democracy Coalition held its first Advisory Board meeting on October 25th, in conjunction with MisinfoCon London and Mozilla Fest (MozFest). The D4D Coalition seeks to act as a force multiplier for organizations who advocate for more democracy-friendly technology platforms and policies by providing an opportunity for collaboration and mutual support within the democracy community. The Coalition also provides direct lines of communication with major technology platforms and is improving communication between the democracy community and the tech industry.

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NYT Roundup of Election-Related Misinformation Shows Breadth of Fake News

With election day drawing nearer, disinformation efforts to influence voters increase. The New York Times published a “Roundup” of disinformation-related coverage, its impact on the U.S. midterm elections, and its spread internationally. In response to suspicious pro-Saudi Arabian government tweets, Twitter suspended suspected bots that tweeted and re-tweeted identical talking points including “#unfollow_enemies_of_the_nation.” Twitter also released 11 million tweets believed to be from state-backed information operations originating in Russia and Iran. Facebook pages that appeared to be for Women’s Marches were found to originate in Bangladesh and sought to sell march-related merchandise.

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IRI and NDI Presidents Discuss Tech and Democracy Collaboration in California

As part of a broader series of discussions on tech and democracy, the National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute joined partners on October 18 to host a reception and discussion in San Francisco about the ways tech is impacting democratic processes and participation around the world. The event featured perspectives from NDI President Derek Mitchell and IRI President Dan Twining, and explored opportunities for civil society, technologists, and others to collaborate through efforts like the D4D Coalition. Participants included Bay Area stakeholders from the tech industry, academia, and the international affairs community, and co-hosts included the Pacific Council, TheBridge, and Bay Area International Link.

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Twitter Releases Data on Russian Linked Account

In an attempt to increase transparency and enable academic investigation and research, Twitter released data about accounts and content that have been part of global disinformation campaigns since 2016. Included in the data are two accounts that had not been part of earlier releases, and are thought by Twitter to be state-backed. In total, information about 3,841 accounts connected to the IRA in Russia and 770 other accounts have been released to the public. However, researchers found even more fake Twitter accounts that appear to be linked to the Russian government that were not identified by Twitter’s search, promoting politically benign topics such as Taco Bell and Coachella.