WhatsApp Watch team members launch the Digital Witness Lab

The Brown Institute is pleased to announce that grantees Surya Mattu and Micha Gorelick have launched the Digital Witness Lab. The lab, which is being formally hosted and housed by the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University, has a stated mission of collecting data in the public interest to uncover surveillance, the spread of misinformation, and other forms of algorithmic harm enabled by digital platforms.

The first project of the Digital Witness Lab is WhatsApp Watch, a 2022-2023 Magic Grant, is a platform for monitoring how misinformation spreads through Whatsapp groups. The project will focus on working with journalists in the Global South – in countries like India, Brazil and the Philippines where the application is very popular. Big Tech companies are notorious for lax oversight and invasive surveillance in these regions, and the harm posed by these conditions can be life-threatening. This project provides technical support and access to data to journalists to allow them to report on this critical topic.

Read more about the lab at digitalwitnesslab.org and read Princeton’s official press release here.

Congratulations to Surya and Micha!