The Forum on Information & Democracy recently published a comprehensive report – How to End Infodemics – that details what action governments can take to tackle this scourge.
Spoiler alert: it is yet more evidence that we need regulatory reform. To make it more digestible, Fair Vote UK’s team have put together a summary here.
Infodemic is a term given to the rapid spread of misinformation. In the internet age, tech giants have turbocharged an old problem by creating platforms that privilege sensationalistic and untrustworthy content over factually reliable news.
In 2020 the problem has been dramatically highlighted by the rapid spread of extremely harmful COVID-19 misinformation.
Going forward it is imperative that we tackle this problem forcefully. Not just to ensure the COVD-19 recovery is not hampered but to protect democratic culture full stop.
Misinformation creates a fractured and untrusting public. And a fractured and untrusting public is incapable of agreeing on the problems facing society, let alone on what should be done to fix them. That is very bad for democracy.
We have seen that tech self-regulation does not work. The Forum on Information & Democracy’s report calls on governments to do more to tackle this problem and outlines four key areas to focus on:
- Regulation of Content Moderation.
- Platform Design.
- Closed Messaging Safeguarding.
Many of the report’s conclusions independently mirror the recommendations that we published in January.
Consensus is building on the need to do something about this problem. Now is the time for advocacy to evolve into policy. The health of the public and the health of democracy depends on it.