Council of Europe´s Report identifies strategies to tackle disinformation

posted on 11 December, 2017   (public)

Recently published CoE report provides conceptual framework and structure for dialogue about information disorder

Tackling disinformation in the global media environment – new Council of Europe report

"Information Disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making", which was published on 31 October 2017 by the Council of Europe, examines the way in which dis-information campaigns have become widespread and, heavily relying on social media, contribute to a global media environment of information disorder. The report, authored by Claire Wardle and Hossein Derakhshan, provides a conceptual framework and a structure for dialogue about information disorder by policymakers, legislators and researchers. For the authors, information disorder cannot be solved overnight, but the first step is understanding the complexity of the issue:

  • The authors identify three different types of “information disorder”: mis-information, when false information is shared, but no harm is meant; dis-information, when false information is knowingly shared to cause harm; and mal-information, when genuine information is shared to cause harm.
  • In addition, the report also distinguishes between three elements: agents, messages and interpreters and three phases: creation, production and dissemination.
  • A key argument is that we need to understand the emotional and ritualistic elements of communication. The most ‘successful’ of problematic content is that which plays on people’s emotions, encouraging feelings of superiority, anger or fear. While the explosion of fact - checking and debunking initiatives is admirable, there is an urgent need to understand the most effective formats for sparking curiosity and skepticism in audiences about the information they consume and the sources from which that information comes.

In addition to the conceptual framework, the report provides a round-up of related research and practical initiatives connected to the topic of information disorder, as well as filter bubbles and echo chambers.

It also examines solutions that have been rolled out by the social networks and consider ideas for strengthening existing media, news literacy projects and regulation.

Key future trends are also highlighted, such as the implications of artificial intelligence technology for manufacturing as well as detecting dis-information.

The closing chapter contains 35 recommendations addressed to relevant stakeholders such as technology companies, national governments, media, civil society, and education ministries to help them identify suitable strategies to address the phenomenon.

Source: Council of Europe Website