Renée DiResta is the technical research manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, a cross-disciplinary program of research, teaching and policy engagement for the study of abuse in current information technologies. Renee investigates the spread of narratives across social and media networks, with an interest in understanding how platform algorithms and affordances intersect with user behavior and factional crowd dynamics. She studies how actors leverage the information ecosystem to exert influence, from domestic activists promoting health misinformation and conspiracy theories, to the full-spectrum information operations executed by state actors.
At the behest of SSCI, Renee led an investigation into the Russian Internet Research Agency’s multi-year effort to manipulate American society, and presented public testimony. A year later, she led an additional investigation into influence capabilities that the GRU used alongside its hack-and-leak operations in the 2016 election. Renee has studied influence operations and computational propaganda in the context of pseudoscience conspiracies, terrorist activity, and state-sponsored information warfare, and has advised Congress, the State Department, and other academic, civil society, and business organizations on the topic.
Renée regularly writes and speaks about technology policy, and influence operations. She is an Ideas contributor at Wired and The Atlantic. Her tech industry writing, analysis, talks, and data visualizations have been featured or covered by numerous media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Yale Review, Fast Company, Politico, TechCrunch, Wired, Slate, Forbes, Buzzfeed, The Economist, Journal of Commerce, and more. She appeared in the documentary The Social Dilemma.
Previously, Renée was the Director of Research at Yonder. She was part of the founding team and ran marketing and business development at Haven, the transportation management technology platform that’s transforming trade logistics for commodity, CPG, and food shippers. Before that, Renée was a Principal at seed-stage venture capital fund O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV), where she invested in early technology startups with a focus on hardware, manufacturing, and logistics companies. She spent seven years on Wall Street as an equity derivatives trader and market maker at Jane Street, a top quantitative proprietary trading firm in New York City.
Renée is the author of The Hardware Startup: Building your Product, Business, and Brand, published by O’Reilly Media.
Renée has degrees in Computer Science and Political Science from the Honors College at SUNY Stony Brook. She is an Emerson Fellow, a 2018-2019 Mozilla Fellow, a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar, a Council on Foreign Relations term member, and a Truman National Security Fellow. She is a Harvard Berkman-Klein Center affiliate, and is a Founding Advisor to the Center for Humane Technology, and was previously a Staff Associate at the Columbia University Data Science Institute. She is passionate about STEM education and childhood immunization advocacy, and is one of the co-founders of parent advocacy organization Vaccinate California. For fun, she explores data sets and loves cooking and making things. Renée and her husband, Justin Hileman, are the parents of three feisty little people.