Malcomson has worked as an author, reporter, civil-society executive and government official in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North and South America. He is a senior fellow for international security at New America, visiting media fellow in the international peace and security program at the Carnegie Corporation, and director of special projects at Strategic Insight Group. As a journalist and author of five books, he has focused his writing on the real-world fortunes of civilizational organizing ideas such as globalization, the Muslim umma, international civil society, race, nationalism, and cyberspace. Malcomson was foreign editor of the New York Times Magazine and has contributed to the Times, the New Yorker, and many other publications. He has been an executive at two global NGOs and was a senior official at the United Nations and the U.S. State Department. His fifth book, Splinternet: How Geopolitics and Commerce Are Fragmenting the World Wide Web, was published in 2016.