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Catch Me If You Can

Talking to trolls

Catch Me If You Can

News of professor Jonathan Corpus Ong becoming a 2022 Carnegie Fellow swept our feeds recently. These same feeds are the landscape in which his research takes place.

The $200,000 grant Ong received from Andrew Carnegie Corp. of New York will further his research on disinformation, continuing the thread of his 2018 study centered on networks of trolls and fake news dissemination that helped turn the tide of the 2016 Philippine national elections.

The 2016 elections opened a window into the dangerous impact of disinformation on democracy. And days after the 2022 polls, it is the perfect time to revisit the conversation on the weaponization of social media for political gain.

This year, Ong’s work also takes on a new form: audio. Powered by PumaPodcast, “Catch Me If You Can” allows audiences who are less inclined to read an academic paper to listen to Ong share insights from his interviews and research on architects of disinformation. We’ve all heard of trolls but now we can hear from trolls themselves on this show.

Cohosted by journalist Kat Ventura, the podcast dives deeper into the woodwork from which the trolls emerge, and simultaneously zooms out to show the larger networks of disinformation to include influencers and PR firms, among other players.

Without naming and shaming, this podcast will answer questions like how do people become trolls? How much money do people make from posting political ads? And how are six-pack abs mobilized to sway voters?

Listen to “Catch Me If You Can” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.