Journalist and independent media expert on disinformation
Margo Gontar is a journalist and independent expert on disinformation.
In 2014 she co-founded the fact-checking website StopFake.org and anchored its weekly TV news show, StopFakeNews. The project aims to refute fake narratives about Ukraine and uncover Kremlin-directed disinformation campaigns. It became a pioneer in the field.
Margo has been a keynote speaker at a number of international media- and politics-related events such as the Brussels Forum in March, 2018, the ‘International Democracy day’ at the European Parliament in Brussels, in September, 2017, the Digital Disinformation Forum, Stanford, June 2017, the ‘EU Eastern Partnership: Battlefield of Information War’ discussion at Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in May, 2017, the Warsaw Security Forum in Warsaw in October 2016, the Discussion on Digital Disruption in Ukraine at Legatum Institute in London in July 2015, and at the Cambridge conference “Ukraine and the Global Information War” in October, 2014 among others.
Gontar also co-founded the DostupnoUA initiative in 2015, which aims to make urban spaces more accessible for people with disabilities, and improve the image of people with special needs in society.
Margo is an awardee of the 30 under 30 2017 Award by the Kyiv Post for contribution to positive change in Ukraine. She also received the 2017 NDI Democracy Award on behalf of the StopFake team in Washington, DC.
She has been featured as an expert in pieces for The New York Times, RFE/RL, The Guardian, Vice News, Euronews, DW, YLE, ARD, Atlantic Council and more.
Machine learning technologies can be used to distort reality and twist facts like never before. Artificial Intelligence enables video and audio productions to offer a completely fabricated ‘reality’. What is more, it has never been so easy or cheap to produce and share such content. The question is, to what extent these so-called “deep fakes” will influence our societies and political processes. Can “deep fakes” tip the scale in tight elections and open the doors of high public office to someone who really doesn’t meet the requirements of the job? Do we see party organisations employing robots to make phone calls in the hopes of getting more votes? Fundamentally, is democracy threatened by “deep fakes”?