Maria Ressa Profile Photo

Maria Ressa

Keynote Speaker

Co-founder and CEO of Rappler; Journalist; Author; Freedom Advocate.; 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Imagine staring down arrest for telling the truth. That's the reality Maria Ressa, a 36-year journalism veteran, faced as co-founder of Rappler, the Philippines' leading digital news site fighting for press freedom. Her relentless pursuit of truth earned her the Nobel Peace Prize, recognition as Time Magazine's Person of the Year, and a place among the world's most influential women. Now, this fearless journalist ignites audiences, revealing how technology breeds disinformation and threatens democracy. 

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Maria Ressa Profile Photo

Not just a journalist. Not just a survivor. Maria Ressa is a warrior for democracy, armed with truth and a relentless spirit.

Hounded by a repressive regime, facing constant legal threats, Maria co-founded Rappler, a beacon of independent journalism in the Philippines. Her unwavering fight for press freedom earned her not only the ire of the powerful, but also the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

Maria’s impact goes far beyond her own story. She dissects the insidious impact of artificial intelligence and social media on our beliefs and how we interact with the world. She exposes the weaponized machinery behind the epidemic of disinformation and its crippling hold on our societies.

With a powerful voice and keen analysis, Maria reveals the troubling connection between the unchecked power of social media giants and the erosion of democratic values. This battle against disinformation is not hers alone; it’s a fight we all face.

With her searing analysis, powerful call to action, and roadmap for navigating the information war, Maria Ressa equips us to combat the threats of the digital age and defend the pillars of truth and democracy.

Featured Videos

Maria Ressa Profile Photo
Maria Ressa

Maria Reesa on Holding the Line Together

Maria Ressa Profile Photo
Maria Ressa

Maria Ressa on Cherishing Bonds in Adversity

Maria Ressa Profile Photo
Maria Ressa

Maria Ressa on Social Media as Behavioral Modification Tools

Maria Ressa’s Speech Topics

  • Technology’s Impact on Democracy

    Social media companies have become the dominant source of news and information. The distributors of news and information gain power. To grow and increase power, the platforms require continuously increasing viewers which drives advertising revenue.

    Social media platforms have discovered that pushing viewers to the extreme left or right increases engagement which increases ad revenue. To achieve this, the platforms develop algorithms designed to spread lies, laced with hate and anger. 

    Technology, once heralded as an enabler, is now the destroyer. How can we re-orient social media platforms to bring us together rather than divide us?

    In this talk, Maria explains how we went off the rails but, more importantly, how we can right the train.

  • The Fight for Democracy

    In this talk, Maria discusses how today’s style of leadership, us against them, sexism, and misogyny has given everyone to be their worst selves in many ways.

    Democracies rely on elections but as we’ve been manipulated before the elections, where’s the freedom of will? Without free will, we are simply carrying out the wishes of the manipulators. How do we protect democracy when surrounded by manipulation?

    Maria describes the four-layer pyramid that was successfully executed in the most recent Philippines election:

    • Hashtag facts through social and traditional media
    • The Mesh of civil society, NGOs, human rights, and business groups
    • Academia research groups
    • Legal groups from the left, right, and center working together.

    This is the time to act. Don’t bury your head in the sand. This is an existential moment and we either fight for our democracy or we lose our rights.

    “We will know whether democracy lives or dies by the end of 2024.“ —Maria Ressa


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