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Curtis Hougland is CEO of People First, which specializes in online persuasion. The company was partly born out of work on behalf of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), where the company helped build technology to counter online extremism. 

Curtis worked at the front-lines of information wars in mitigating ISIS recruitment on behalf of Google, Facebook and Microsoft, defending democracies against Russian online digital interference on behalf of the US and EU, and reducing the impact of anti-vaxx narratives as well as supporting causes such as gun safety, mental health, and social justice.


The company was the first to translate advanced social intelligence into peer-to-peer content at speed and scale to authentically and transparently persuade communities based on shared affinities, ethnicities, and geographies, as well as to employ digital relational organizing through trusted messengers. 

In the 2020 and 2022 U.S. elections, People First sourced and distributed tens of thousands of individual posts and videos on behalf of many campaigns and organizations including for Joe Biden for President. The organization is credited with bringing microinfluencer marketing to cause-based and political campaigns.

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