New York
Zach Verdin is a fourth-generation Los Angeles Jew born on Texas soil and now living in Tennessee. He is the executive director of Knowledge Futures, founded in 2018 at MIT with a mission to make information useful. Since 2017 much of his work has focused on the flow of ideas in highly contested digital spaces. He has supported rural civil society groups in their efforts to counter propaganda and disinformation, authored a report that identified coordinated attempts to divide Black online communities, and helped expose a large-scale information warfare campaign to undermine confidence in the 2018 midterm elections. The impact of such threats—on geopolitical groups, Fortune 100 companies, and civil society—remains a key issue in his work.
In his primary role, as a producer, Verdin mobilizes cultural spaces, networks, and media to foster American cultural production. In 2009 he co-founded NewHive, a multimedia publishing platform and international community for internet art with millions of users worldwide. Today he strives to elevate people whose visionary work is rooted in their unique geography, far from large coastal cities and dominant knowledge-worker industries. He is one of the founding partners of IWR, a brand creating "propaganda you can believe in", and of New Era Americans (NEA), a media company discovering the people who are creating the new American dream. His latest venture, the production company PARABLE, invests in independent documentaries and narrative films about the multifarious experience of life in the United States.
Verdin’s work has been covered in a range of media outlets, including The New York Times, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, Fast Company, The Verge, and Rolling Stone. He was also the subject of a 2018 QAnon drop accusing him of being part of the Silicon Valley Illuminati.