Analysis and Theory

Building the Field

The Propagandists’ Playbook

February 28, 2023

Please find virtual & in-person attendee information below!

February 28, 4:00 PM–February 28, 5:00 PM

Join us on February 28th as Dr. Francesca Tripodi discusses her new book, The Propagandists' Playbook: How Conservative Elites Manipulate Search and Threaten Democracy. RSVP encouraged.

Virtual attendees:

Please use the following Zoom link

In-person attendees:

Lewis International Law Center

1557 Massachusetts Ave., Rm. 515, Cambridge, MA

Doors open @ 3:45pm 

During this talk, Dr. Francesca Tripodi will provide a detailed analysis of the information tactics pundits and politicians use in pursuit of partisan gains.  Combining interviews and ethnographic observations with content analysis, media immersion, and web-scraped metadata, this talk takes audiences on a deep dive into the conservative information landscape. Through the mechanics of information literacy, networked media, search-engine optimization, curated keywords, and strategic signaling, Dr. Tripodi explains how dominant narratives weave together economic, social, and religious groups into a common conversation and filters the news around their concerns. By encouraging audiences to “do their own research,” but seeding the internet beforehand, conspiracy theorists and propagandists effectively redirect attention away from negative media attention, blur the line between reality and fiction, and draw on a historical legacy of white supremacist logics. The goal of identifying these tactics is to break the feedback-loop to explain how an algorithmically polarized society poses a great risk to American democracy.

With an introduction from Visiting Scholar David Nemer.

Participants may join this event either in-person (Lewis Law Center, 1557 Massachusetts Ave., 5th Floor) or virtually via Zoom (

Dr. Francesca Tripodi (she/her) is a sociologist and information scholar whose research examines the relationship between search engines, participatory platforms, politics, and society. She is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Information Technology and Public Life (CITAP) at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Tripodi is a recognized expert in the field of misinformation. She has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on how search engines are gamed to drive ideologically based queries, has been funded by the National Science Foundation to study the cultural complexities of search literacy, and uncovered patterns of gender inequality on Wikipedia.  Her research has been covered by NPR, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Columbia Journalism Review, Wired, Slate, The Guardian, and The Neiman Journalism Lab.