Yael Eisenstat

Democracy Activist, 2021-22 Berggruen Fellow

Yaël Eisenstat is a democracy activist currently focused on technology’s effects on the public square and democracy. After spending 18 years in the national security and global affairs world—as a CIA officer, diplomat, and White House advisor—Yaël began to view the breakdown of reasoned discourse as the biggest threat to U.S. democracy. So she took a role at Facebook in 2018 heading the company’s new Global Elections Integrity Operations team for political advertising. Realizing she was not going to change the company from within, she left and has since been a public advocate for transparency and accountability in tech, particularly where it affects democracies around the world. Her recent TED talk addresses these issues and proposes ideas for how to reclaim our public square. Her work at Berggruen will focus on what the public square and open, democratic debate look like in the digital world and how we can change the current incentives to reconcile social media’s dominance of these public spaces with democratic principles. She will help convene a series of round table discussions to understand how the digital public square has changed in recent years and develop recommendations for the path forward.

By Yael Eisenstat

Berggruen Fellows Aim to Reinvent Governance, Imagine Radically Different Futures for Global Systems and Institutions

Facebook Silences the People Who Know Its Operations Best