Camille Francois isn’t a rising star in the traditional sense. She didn’t break onto the scene in 2020. Graphika, where she is the chief innovation officer, was well-known in online disinformation circles before the Senate Intelligence Committee tapped the firm for research in 2018 to investigate Russian election meddling. And Graphika wasn’t her first high-profile role. Francois had already been principal researcher at Jigsaw, Google’s public interest technology division.
Francois is an affiliate of Harvard’s Berkman-Klein Center, a Fullbright scholar, and a Mozilla fellow. She has advised several governments, including serving as a special adviser to the chief technology officer of France. She holds two masters degrees, one from Sciences-Po and the other from Columbia, and is a widely cited expert in the field of disinformation.
But, if she isn’t a rising star in a traditional sense, she is a rising star because the sky is moving around her. The importance of disinformation research became clear in 2020, when government, social media and third-party research firms like Graphika fired on all cylinders to protect an election. It was the first time we saw the importance of technological solutions to root out disinformation networks.
Disinformation is no longer viewed as a purely governmental concern. Enterprises are increasingly attuned to these tactics as a threat to their own operations.
And in an outcome-driven world, it is tough to argue with Graphika’s results. Their approach to disinformation research unearthed international campaigns targeted a host of global audiences across a variety of platforms, designed to do anything from delegitimizing American political groups to rehabilitating the image of Huawei.
Disinformation is garnering enough attention to now be deemed a security interest. And Francois has many more years at its forefront.