Panel Subject: Balancing the Fight against Fake News against Rights of Free Expression and Privacy

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Survey Results | Guidelines | Updates | Discussion

This page is for coordination among the panel team to openly discuss the topics that will be covered under the subject of the "Balancing the Fight against Fake News against Rights of Free Expression and Privacy." The page includes the relevant survey results, Panel Guidelines and a section for the panel team to discuss in the comments.

Important Links
Collaborative Planning Document
Panel Team
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The following topics were surveyed under this subject and the table provides the performance of each:

# Question Important (3) Neutral (2) Not Important (1) Weighted Average Responses
11.2 How should the prevalence of misinformation and the business models that enable it be addressed while respecting freedom of expression? 48 17 10 2.51 75
11.1 What is the impact of Fake News, disinformation, and misinformation on the public's trust in the Internet? How can the level of trust be increased? 45 22 7 2.51 74
11.3 If we require transparency in sponsorship of political ads, how can we avoid compromising privacy and online free expression, especially for ads on political issues not related to elections? 44 22 9 2.47 75

Session Title

Trending now: Scenarios from the future of Fake News

Session Description

The future of the internet will be in large part determined by how the word responds to the controversies over mis- and dis- information, computational propaganda, and the scourge of “fake news”. “Misinformation” has economic, social, political, and cultural dimensions not to mention its impact on  journalism and the news media,the 4th pillar of democracy. This session explores three different scenarios for the future five years out that could emerge from decisions being made today about how we combat so-called fake news, who decides what constitutes fake news, and the policy, technical and economic implications. In the Scenario 1 the future is bleak as critical democratic institutions are undermined by a lack of trust, people are radicalized through information bubbles and gossip, and journalism is unable to compete with “fake news” and therefore there is no 4th pillar of democracy or independent oversight of public officials or way to tamp down on rumors. The future of internet news is channeled into silos of partisan preference, where web resources cater to edges and corners of public opinion and essentially abandon the moderate middle. In the Scenario 2  the future of the internet is decided by platforms who no longer have intermediary liability/Section 230 protection and are seeking not to run afoul of codes of conduct and their own terms of service as they cater to the largest audience possible, making dissent impossible as radical views are censored, driven underground or forced into the Dark Web or other private/discrete channels, and become increasingly hardened and no longer available in the public sphere. In the Scenario 3 the platforms continue to enjoy protection from intermediary liability by opening up their algorithms, data, moderation decisions, and advertising information to public scrutiny and oversight, enabling journalism to flourish by reengineering the economic incentives and social signals that led to the prevalence of “fake news”.  Protection of multiple points of view that are able to flourish.

Panelists

In process. Confirmed thus far:

Angie Drobnic Holan is the editor of PolitiFact. She previously was deputy editor, and before that a reporter for PolitiFact, helping launch the site in 2007. She was a member of the PolitiFact team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2008 election. She has been with the Tampa Bay Times since 2005 and previously worked at newspapers in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and New Mexico. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a master’s of library science from the University of South Florida. Her undergraduate degree is from the Plan II liberal arts program at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a native of Louisiana and attended the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts.

Jeff Jarvis, New Integrity Initiative and the CUNY Journalism School.

Danielle Coffey, News Media Alliance TBC 

Updates

Team Lead(s) - April 25

Courtney Radsch, CPJ

Dustin Phillips, ICANN Wiki

Update on First Call - April 25

Conceptualizing the session, including agreeing to a scenario-based session.

Draft Panel Description - May 2

Team members discussed a draft of the panel description, identified leads for scenario drafting, and identified categories of potential speakers from which we would like to draw, including someone who has published report/data on actual effect of fake news on elections, a Journalist/Media expert, an expert on how media systems impact political systems, an aspiring “watchdog” who claims to know how to validate news (versus fake news).

Updated Panel Description - July 2

Trending now: Scenarios from the future of Fake News: The future of the internet will be in large part determined by how the word responds to the controversies over mis- and dis- information, computational propaganda, and the scourge of “fake news”. “Misinformation” has economic, social, political, and cultural dimensions not to mention its impact on  journalism and the news media,the 4th pillar of democracy. This session explores three different scenarios for the future five years out that could emerge from decisions being made today about how we combat so-called fake news, who decides what constitutes fake news, and the policy, technical and economic implications. In the Scenario 1 the future is bleak as critical democratic institutions are undermined by a lack of trust, people are radicalized through information bubbles and gossip, and journalism is unable to compete with “fake news” and therefore there is no 4th pillar of democracy or independent oversight of public officials or way to tamp down on rumors. The future of internet news is channeled into silos of partisan preference, where web resources cater to edges and corners of public opinion and essentially abandon the moderate middle. In the Scenario 2  the future of the internet is decided by platforms who no longer have intermediary liability/Section 230 protection and are seeking not to run afoul of codes of conduct and their own terms of service as they cater to the largest audience possible, making dissent impossible as radical views are censored, driven underground or forced into the Dark Web or other private/discrete channels, and become increasingly hardened and no longer available in the public sphere. In the Scenario 3 the platforms continue to enjoy protection from intermediary liability by opening up their algorithms, data, moderation decisions, and advertising information to public scrutiny and oversight, enabling journalism to flourish by reengineering the economic incentives and social signals that led to the prevalence of “fake news”.  Protection of multiple points of view that are able to flourish.

Discussion


Romella

3 months ago
Score 0++
We talked about Fake News and propaganda last year; it was innovative then. I believe that issue of trust, not just with respect to fake news, is the central issue that should be explored. Trust in automated warfare? Trust in automated trading? Trust in online transactions? Etc. This underlying issue is fake people and what do with them. Also, accountability standards for what real people say are needed, but what does that look like?

Anonymous user #1

3 months ago
Score 0++
Actually, we barely touched on the topic of Fake News and its implications in 2017. A lot has emerged since then as false information, and to Romella's point -- fake people -- or fake organizations. I think that cyber warfare has to be outside the IGF mandate, as we have seen the at the IGF itself. Personally, I'd like to see a focus on how is fake information, whether fake news, or fake information, or lack of tested facts, influencing decision making -- all the way from whom we elect to office, to the products that average families purchase [fake websites that sell toys that blow up in a child's face]; when anonymity is justified, and who verifies the "anonymous speaker" - e.g. protecting protestors, or media... Is the Internet/WWW accountable, or should we be focused on educating users? And what does that look like in a world where not all users are either digitally literate? To the question about whether Ads should always be disclosed -- especially political ads -- I err now on the side of saying at least in the US, yes.

SteveDelBianco

2 months ago
Score 0++

see https://www....0742c10459fe

Europe wants to crack down on fake news. But one person’s fake news is another’s democratic dissent.

“The lack of methodology has been opening the door to abuses of expression,” said Alberto Alemanno, a law professor at HEC Paris, a business school, who filed a separate complaint about the task force’s work. “They are clashing with the right of the self-determination of readers, of listeners.”

Courtneyr

2 months ago
Score 0++
I think one of the key issues is deciding who decides what is fake or not, what is permissible. "A look at abuse of media laws by authoritarians around the world is a clear warning against government regulation of information. At the same time, relying on internet platforms to filter or verify information could result in the privatization of censorship. Any self-regulation by tech companies must be transparent, subject to independent oversight, and include some sort of path to remedy for those affected." https://cpj....-is-fake.php
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