Arbiters of Truth

The Lawfare Podcast: Elise Thomas on Disinformation and the Australia Fires

By Jen Patja Howell
Thursday, January 30, 2020, 4:48 PM

For the past several months, Australia has been struck by massive bushfires like nothing seen before in recent memory. As the country has grappled with the spread of these unprecedented blazes, it’s also grappled with the spread of falsehoods about what caused them.

This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Elise Thomas, a journalist and researcher at the Australia Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Center. Elise has been tracking misinformation and disinformation around the blazes—from the suggestion by the right-wing Australian press that arson, not climate change, is to blame for the fires, to online conspiracy theories imported in from the United States. They talked not only about the fires, but also about the global nature of the fight against mis- and disinformation online and why we need to be cautious about focusing too much on bots in waging that fight.

Elise was calling in from Canberra, and unfortunately we had some audio glitches, but it's too great a conversation to miss.