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She Warned of ‘Peer-to-Peer Misinformation.’ Congress Listened.

Renee DiResta, who has advised Congress on the use of bots and fake accounts to manipulate social media, at her home in San Francisco, Calif. Credit: Jason Henry for The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Before the sun came up on Oct. 31, Renee DiResta sat in bed in her pajamas and logged into a virtual war room.

For years, Ms. DiResta had battled disinformation campaigns, cataloging data on how malicious actors spread fake narratives online. That morning, wearing headphones so she wouldn’t wake up her two sleeping children, Ms. DiResta watched on her laptop screen as lawyers representing Facebook, Google and Twitter spoke at congressional hearings that focused on the role social media played in a Russian disinformation campaign ahead of the 2016 election.

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