For the last few weeks, fake news, misinformation, and disinformation have been heavily featured in news outlets and magazines, as we monitor the key coercive control issues trending in the world media.
Most notably, the agenda for the UN UNESCO conference held in France, was disinformation and hate speech, discussing with delegates the potential and need for better safeguards. Audrey Azouley, UNESCO Director-General said “only by fully evaluating this technological revolution can we ensure it is a revolution that does not compromise human rights, freedom of expression and democracy”. She also highlighted the challenge of algorithms that prioritise engagement over safety and human rights.
Continuing the theme, we enjoyed this investigative journalism podcast exploring “the secret world of disinformation for hire“, which looked at real world manipulation of global elections. Meanwhile:
- this article recognises the US advocates seeking to combat election misinformation, without infringing on protected speech
- this one looks at the billions spent by China to roll out pro-Russian disinformation to its populace
- and this one explored the continued spread of banned videos on sites such as YouTube, as content uploads outpace the bans meant to mitigate them.
Interestingly, this new study has looked at the variation between disinformation attacks on men versus women, and the potential impact this is having on election outcomes.
Turning attention elsewhere, a new report from Harvard evaluates the real-world impact of fake news from popular ‘health’ bloggers, highlighting the meteoric rise of influencers who gain greater following than their qualified counterparts. The study considered both the popularity and content of the videos, finding that the most popular ones commonly featured promoted products and commercial bias, which are likely impacting on users’ lives. Meanwhile, an open letter from four UK charities accused the government of poor government during COVID, leaving the public vulnerable to misinformation from influencers too.
There have been several interesting opinion pieces published in the last few weeks, including:
- this one that highlights the potential impact of AI content on truth, and the need for regulation
- this one recommending we move beyond ‘just’ critical thinking to master the art of ‘critical ignoring’
- and this one which explores why Britons are so susceptible to fake news, and how it compares to Finland and their active campaign to tackle misinformation.
Next on our reading list is “Foolproof” exploring how we can inoculate the masses against fake news. Have you read it?
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