Stakeholders begin to weigh in
With last week’s announcement of the Digital Services Act roadmap and public consultation, the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Services has now released its position paper on the DSA. Among the viewpoints, ERGA reiterated the findings of its assessment of the Code of Practice on Disinformation regarding the need for new minimum harmonised rules to address disinformation. Additionally, it recommends that the liability regime for hosting services should stay in place. In related news, a coalition, including the Baltics and Slovakia, has spoken out against the Code of Practice, arguing that the self-regulatory framework currently in place is “insufficient and unsuitable”. Taken collectively, this comes at the moment of the EU Commission Communication on COVID-19 disinformation set to be released tomorrow. According to a draft seen by Politico, the Commission reportedly wants the platforms to provide monthly updates on how they’re tackling COVID-19 mis/disinformation.
Criticism continues to mount
Mark Zuckerberg has stated that Facebook will now review its content moderation policies in light of the widespread public backlash, including from employees, over Facebook’s decision to leave up controversial posts from Donald Trump. Yet, despite this, frustration is still mounting. More than 140 scientists funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, penned a letter to Facebook on Saturday saying that the platform should not be allowing the US president to “spread both misinformation and incendiary statements”. Yesterday, Facebook content moderators also wrote an open letter to their colleagues in support of their virtual walkouts and resignations.
In the news
- Highlighting the thin line between satire and disinformation, DRFLab has revealed how a satirical website claiming to offer protesters-for-hire was mistaken for being real. Created in 2017 and self-labeled as fake, this website was shared over 30,000 times on Facebook as legitimate news during the protests.
- Surveying the online discourse around the US protests, the Stanford Internet Observatory team has looked into whether there is evidence to suggest that the protests have been driven by misinformation or foreign actors, finding that they have been fueled by legitimate grievances.
- ICYMI – Together with John Cook from George Mason University, conspiracies expert Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky has released a conspiracy theory handbook for understanding why conspiracies are so popular. The handbook also explains how to identify the traits of conspiratorial thinking and lists effective debunking strategies.
- What Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Donald Trump have in common – This MIT Technology Review op-ed argues that Facebook and Twitter’s inconsistent content moderation policies are a product of Zuckerberg and Dorsey’s personalised governance styles.
- A new HSK Misinfo Review study has found that online misinformation is linked to lower trust in mainstream media across party lines. Surprisingly, though, it also found that exposure to online misinformation can actually strengthen confidence in political institutions among centrists and conservative citizens.
- According to a new Center for Countering Digital Hate report, social media platforms have failed to live up to their commitments to fight the infodemic, after finding that only 9.4% of flagged misinformation was met with meaningful action. BBC News has a concise write up of the report here.
Events and Announcements
- Stiftung Neue Verantwortung has released a policy brief detailing what rules should be followed for fair digital campaigning.
- Bellingcat on how to investigate TikTok like a pro.
- First Draft has released resources for online newsgathering and news verification during the anti-racism protests.
- 10 June, 17:00 CEST @ International Forum for Democratic Studies online event – Lie Machines: How Disinformation Threatens Democracy and How to Save It.
- 11 June, 14:00 CEST @ CERRE live debate – Competition rules for Big Tech and the digital economy.
- 11 June, 18:30 CEST @ European Foundation for Democracy webinar – Propaganda and disinformation campaigns during the COVID-19 crisis: A discussion with young professionals.
- 11 June, 18:00 CEST @ European Union of Jewish Students webinar – COVID-19 & Conspiracy Myths.
- 17 June, 15:00 CEST @ European Foundation for Democracy webinar – Disinformation campaigns during the COVID-19 Crisis: Russia and China’s strategies in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
- 8 July, 18:00 CEST @ Center for Data Innovation webinar – Can algorithms tackle the ‘infodemic’?