DiResta, Renée

DiResta, Renée – 

Renée DiResta is a writer and research manager at Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO). DiResta has written about pseudoscienceconspiraciesterrorism, and state-sponsored information warfare. She has also served as an advisor to the U.S. Congress on ongoing efforts to prevent online and social media disinformation.


Renée DiResta is the current technical research manager for the Stanford Internet Observatory. Formerly, she served as the Director of Research at Yonder (formerly named New Knowledge), a founder of Haven, a logistics company, a venture capitalist at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, and a trader at Jane Street Capital.[1] She also worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as an undergraduate college student.[2][3]


In 2015, Renée DiResta co-founded Vaccinate California, an organization designed to promote vaccination in California.[4]

DiResta is a proponent of vaccination and has advised the California State Senate on matters of vaccination misinformation. Following an outbreak of Measles in the U.S., DiResta began research into misinformation around vaccines. Along with data scientist, Gilad Lotan, DiResta identified that on Twitter, 25% of anti-vaccine information came from 0.6% of users, in a phenomenon DiResta described as similar to automation. This study additionally identified groups of individuals would actively create false accounts and “shape public opinion about particular policies”. This report was used by Vaccinate California and the California State Senate to demonstrate that the majority of Californians were in favor of removal of vaccine-opt out policies, resulting in California Senate Bill 277 passing into law.[5]

In 2021, the Virality Project, an organization DiResta is a part of, released the report “Memes, Magnets and Microchips: Narrative dynamics around COVID-19 vaccines” advising social media sites and health officials on how to counter COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation.[6]

Social media and disinformation

DiResta has previously written that social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, are used as “useful testing grounds for bad actors”. Specifically, she wrote that foreign governments, such as Russia, will pilot memes and false stories online to see what can become popular and sway public opinion.[7] DiResta described it as “the asymmetry of passion” where extremist groups will intentionally attempt to reinforce narratives to “shape the reality” of viewers. This, according to DiResta, has seeped into the public policy of vaccines, zoning laws, and water fluoridation“.[7]

During her ongoing tenure at the Stanford Internet Observatory, DiResta led investigations into the Russian Internet Research Agency’’s efforts to manipulate United States society and the GRU‘s efforts to influence the U.S. 2016 Presidential Election.[8] This included a report to the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), detailing the means by which the GRU used social media to influence the election and how social media poses on ongoing risk to US politics.[9] This report further stated that FacebookTwitter and Alphabet‘s algorithms were intentionally manipulated in a multi-year effort by the Internet Research Agency, directed by the Russian government, and had successfully created false personas that spread misinformation to an estimated hundreds of thousands of Americans. The identified purpose of this effort was to “deepen political divisions”.[10][11]

DiResta is a member of the Council for Responsible Social Media, a project of the campaign reform lobbying group Issue One.[12][13] She has criticized Mark Zuckerberg’s controlling share of Meta and Elon Musk’s Acquisition of Twitter, calling for greater transparency and regulation of false information spread on these sites.[14]

Media appearances

– She appeared in the documentary The Social Dilemma and is a contributor at Wired and The Atlantic.[8]

– She appeared on the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.[15]


  • The Hardware Startup: Building your Product, Business, and Brand (2015)[16]

Sea also


  1. ^ “Renee DiResta”http://www.oreilly.com. Retrieved 2023-06-11.
  2. ^ Stanford Internet Observatory. Retrieved 2023-03-21.
  3. ^ “https://twitter.com/noUpside/status/1664788232779837443”Twitter. Retrieved 2023-06-11. {{cite web}}External link in |title= (help)
  4. ^ “About – Vaccinate California”. 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  5. ^ “The Frontline Interview: Renee DiResta”FRONTLINE. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  6. ^ “Disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine is a problem. Stanford researchers are trying to solve it”news.stanford.edu. 2022-02-24. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  7. Jump up to:a b “The death of truth: how we gave up on facts and ended up with Trump”the Guardian. 2018-07-14. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  8. Jump up to:a b “Renée DiResta”Conference on World Affairs. 2022-02-03. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  9. ^ DiResta, Renee; Shaffer, Kris; Ruppel, Becky; Sullivan, David; Matney, Robert; Fox, Ryan; Albright, Jonathan; Johnson, Ben (2019-10-01). “The Tactics & Tropes of the Internet Research Agency”U.S. Senate Documents.
  10. ^ DiResta, Renee (n.d.). “Statement for the record from Renee DiResta, Director of Research, New Knowledge” (PDF)House Committee.
  11. ^ DiResta, Renée (2018-12-17). “Opinion | What We Now Know About Russian Disinformation”The New York TimesISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  12. ^ Feiner, Lauren (October 12, 2022). “Facebook whistleblower, former defense and intel officials form group to fix social media”. CNBC. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  13. ^ “Council for Responsible Social Media – Issue One”issueone.org. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  14. ^ Zuckerman, Renée DiResta,Laura Edelson,Brendan Nyhan,Ethan. “It’s Time to Open the Black Box of Social Media”Scientific American. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  15. ^ “Joe Rogan Experience #1263 – Renée DiResta – [Unofficial] Joe Rogan Podcast”. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  16. ^ DiResta, Renee; Forrest, Brady; Vinyard, Ryan (2015-05-20). The Hardware Startup: Building Your Product, Business, and Brand. “O’Reilly Media, Inc.”. ISBN 978-1-4919-0710-8.


“Censorship Industrial Complex”

Michael Shellenberger and Joe Rogan @28:30 timestamp discussing Renée DiResta and the “Censorship Industrial Complex”