Anchor Change is a newsletter that provides reporting and analysis of what's happening around the world at the intersection of democracy and technology.

Subscribers get three posts each week:

  • Wednesdays: Deeply reported analyses of the most pressing issues in tech and international and domestic politics

  • Thursdays: Taking the Long View, a roundup of upcoming world events that should be on everyone's radar, and a few you might otherwise miss

  • Sundays: What I'm Reading, a list of the week's must-reads from around the internet

Why become a paid subscriber?

  • I provide unique insights that you can’t get anywhere else. I have twenty years of experience in technology and politics, which I bring to bear when looking at the issues that face us today. More on my story below.

  • You’ll get exclusive access to my quarterly trend reports and other newsletters for paid subscribers only.

  • Support my work! I am an independent consultant. While this newsletter isn’t my sole source of income, it does help to give me more time to do research, hire help and spend time writing.

A little about me

I was born and grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Until I was seven, my family and I lived near Lambeau Field. We are huge Packer fans and are owners of the team. We love to hunt and fish and are a very outdoorsy family. We’re also huge Disney fans. I’m the oldest of three kids, single, and have lived in Washington, DC, for 20 years.

Careerwise, I started my journey post-college at the Republican National Committee in 2003. I worked in the communications department and ran the beginnings of an e-campaign department (as we called it those days.) I bounced around doing digital for various campaigns through the 2010 cycle and then joined Facebook.

At Facebook, my role evolved a lot over ten years. I started working with Republican candidates and elected officials on how to use the platform. In 2013, I pitched to the company that we should build an international team to help political figures use the platform and build a global elections strategy across the company. 

That work shifted a ton in the six and a half years I was doing it. We started small where I was building the election day reminders myself and begging and pleading for help across the company wherever I could get it. 

In 2015, the civic product team was created, and in 2017, the work shifted primarily to integrity work. By 2019, I was working closely with product teams to develop and deploy civic engagement and election integrity products, including political ads transparency features; developing and executing policies around elections; building the teams that support the government, political, and advocacy partners; working with policymakers on shaping the regulation of elections online, and serving as a spokesperson for the company about these issues. I was involved in this work in major elections for every country worldwide, including the United States, India, Brazil, the United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, the Philippines, and Mexico.

I’ve written in the past about my process in deciding to leave Facebook as well as how I mapped out my post-Facebook journey, so I won’t go into too much detail again here but to say that when deciding to go out on my own, I knew I wanted to keep working at the intersection of technology and democracy in the United States and around the world. I have three pillars that my work fits into:

  1. Mentorship: I liked being a manager, and I love working with students, recent graduates, or anyone interested in this space, so I wanted to make sure a portion of my time when to do that.

  2. Voice: When I left, I had this strong urge - that continues to this day - to write and create. I thought the public discussion of content moderation, elections, politics, speech, and others needed more nuance. I wanted to build up my own brand and thought leadership versus representing the company's point of view. My goal is to call balls and strikes as I see them. I would do some things differently if I could return in time. There are other decisions I’ll continue to defend. There was often no easy answer, and I can see why someone else would have made a different call. In writing this newsletter, I hope to give you a glimpse of those tradeoffs and decision-making processes.

  3. Build: For the last pillar, I didn’t want just to be someone who talked about what should be done, but I wanted to help build the future of this work. This is why I enjoy the work at the Integrity Institute and with people at the platforms as they continue to work through these challenges.

To make this all happen, there really wasn’t a full-time job that would encompass all of this. The thought of a regular, full-time job didn’t appeal to me either. So I decided to put together a portfolio of projects with non-profit orgs like the Bipartisan Policy Center, Integrity Institute, and the International Republican Institute; traditional consulting through organizations like Duco Experts; and write this newsletter and, soon, produce a podcast. (PS: If you are interested in potentially doing something similar, you can check out a book by Christina Wallace called The Portfolio Life.)

I still have a lot that I want to share with the world. Not just my thoughts but the amazing work so many people are doing. I started the paid version of this newsletter in February 2023 with the hopes that I might be able to focus more of my time on doing this. If you upgrade, you’ll be supporting my time and my ability to bring in help. Right now, it’s just me putting these together twice a week on top of all my other jobs.

A final note. This work means a lot to me. The people who I’ve had the pleasure of working with mean a lot to me. This work is also hard. There’s a lot of valid criticism about hard decisions, but many involve impossible tradeoffs. I still get anxious about putting forward my thoughts to the public. I know I’ve hurt some people. Some people cheer me on. This tension is weighing heavily on me this morning. Sometimes I think it might be easier to put my head down and not say anything. But I also don’t want anyone else to define my story in this complicated journey. So, I keep writing and hope that in the long run, I will have done so with grace and honor.

Thank you for coming on this adventure with me. 

Subscribe to Anchor Change with Katie Harbath

Reporting and analysis of what's happening around the world at the intersection of democracy and technology.


Global leader at the intersection of elections, democracy, civic and tech. Ex-Facebook. Proud Wisconsinite.