This consultation is now closed
Read the Summary Report - Better Information Ecosystem.
Many thanks all contributors from over 50 countries for sharing your valuable knowledge, experience and perspectives in UNDP and UNESCO's global online consultation on the impact of, and responses to disinformation. The contributions from over 150 UN colleagues and other experts in this field will help to inform and sharpen UNDP and UNESCO’s responses to disinformation going forward. If you missed the opportunity, you can still participate by submitting your written contribution to Niamh.email@example.com on or before 13th November 2020.
With much gratitude to our excellent team of moderators:
Based on the results of this e-discussion, we have continued to sharpen our thinking through focused consultations with key private sector actors, donors, UN and civil society organisations. As a result, a summary report from the e-discussion and consultations has now been compiled and is available on this page. The report summarises key points raised by the consultation participants. The views and opinions in the report are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of UNDP and UNESCO.
Thank you to all contributors for your great support.
Welcome to engagement room 2!
While there is much focus on how to stem disinformation flows online and offline, there may also be pre-existing factors which enable disinformation to spread more easily in different contexts. We want to identify those factors, social, political, and otherwise, that determine just what kind of foothold disinformation can get in a country, and understand how addressing those factors might build resilience and reduce the impact of disinformation. We also want to know how we can effectively monitor and anticipate waves of disinformation in order to address it preemptively.
In this room, we would like to explore the contextual enablers that we should be paying attention to, and hear about how you have effectively monitored disinformation.
As a reminder, disinformation is “false, manipulated or misleading content, created and spread unintentionally or intentionally, and which can cause potential harm to peace, human rights and sustainable development”.
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Week Four Summary
What a wonderfully rich final week in discussion Room 2, many thanks to those who took the time to join us and contribute!
This last week we had some interesting insights from Olivia Sohr and Matias Di Santi of Chequeado on the importance of identifying root sources of disinformation as well as factors which influence the spread of disinformation in different context. Matias mentioned the need for tools to provide a more nuanced insights into how disinformation is shared to provide more focussed, effective fact checking.
Israel Araujo notes that in his community, social media is a significant vector for disinformation. Access to quality public information is one way to combat this and promote transparency. While Orna Young reminded us of the challenge of influential individuals acting as super spreaders of disinformation by sharing with their constituents, who tend to accept the information more readily from someone they admire, and the need to use trusted organisations to access hard to reach groups.
Miroslava Sawiris's extensive contribution from the Alliance for Healthy Infosphere raised important points about the diversity of disinformation spreaders, from influencers to political actors to pseudo news sites. All this is facilitated by social media algorithms which bring fringe sites and ideas to the fore.
Notable is the way in which advertising revenue has been diverted from reputable news sources to unreliable and dubious information sources. Transparency of ownership and labelling of online news sites would be one way for the public to discern their news sources. Also the diversity of factors from the curating of news by social media to the lack of public digital skills, all contribute to an easier spread of disinformation. Major question marks remain over the influence of closed groups on this spread. Though as Louise Shaxton reminds us, information echo chambers and bubbles are potentially not as harmful as we assume, according to research.
At the systemic level, more coordinated monitoring and independent oversight emerge as key early warning solutions. Regional or even international regulatory solutions may be needed to avoid fragmented and ineffective national regulation. However that doesn’t negate the need for a coordinated response involving other stakeholders, including national authorities, civil society groups, media and internet companies themselves.
Paola Forgione of the International Committee of the Red Cross underscores the role of inconsistent and contradictory official communication in driving people towards alternative information sources, which package content in a more compelling way. Also highlighted was the need for early warning systems, monitoring content pre-emptively for potential virality.
Finally Dhruv Ghulati of Factmata explained their innovative tool to detect disinformation based on the language and tone markers to reduce visibility of disinformation on newsfeeds and to support content moderation. Concerted efforts by multiple developers would be needed to create an effective and transparent system.
Thank you again for a diverse and fascinating discussion!
Week Three Summary (Room 2) by Moderator Ruth Canagarajah.
Week Two Summary (Room 2) by Moderator Rachel Pollack.
Week One Summary (Room 2) by Moderator Louise Shaxson.