At this point, encountering misinformation feels synonymous with being on the internet. Even social media giants struggle to keep track of and address the rampant untruths that have proliferated on their platforms. So to many, combating misinformation on social media feels like a battle we have already lost. Yet Lisa Kaplan, founder of cybersecurity startup Alethea, is test-driving her idea to tackle a seemingly unsolvable problem.
In her role as the digital director for Independent Maine Sen. Angus King’s successful reelection campaign in 2018, Kaplan developed a playbook for targeting disinformation on social media. She realized individuals and organizations spreading disinformation were using the same strategies again and again. “From what I saw on the campaign, both from real people spreading misinformation and network-organized efforts to spread disinformation, I was concerned because I didn’t think that anybody was doing enough,” Kaplan told me.
Yet Kaplan realized that disinformation was not just a risk to political candidates. “What we’ve been finding is that disinformation is the new malware. It’s targeting every company, every organization—it’s just a question of whether or not companies have realized it yet,” she said. She decided to transition her digital strategy from her political career into a cybersecurity startup, Alethea Group. In November 2022, the company raised $10 million in Series A funding from Ballistic Ventures. Alethea’s platform helps companies and nonprofits identify misinformation campaigns and design strategies to address the threat.
I spoke to Kaplan this week about how Alethea’s platform works, her perspective on the threat landscape, and her experience breaking into the technical and male-dominated cybersecurity industry.
Check out the full conversation here.