Browse Disinformation Policy Resources

 

CANADA

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission: Protecting Democracy from Disinformation: Normative Threats and Policy Responses

Following public revelations of interference in the U.S. 2016 election, there has been widespread concern that online disinformation poses a serious threat to democracy. Governments have responded with a wide range of policies. However, there is little clarity in elite policy debates or academic literature about what it actually means for disinformation to endanger democracy, and how different policies might protect it. This article proposes that policies to address disinformation seek to defend three important normative goods of democratic systems: self-determination, accountable representation, and public deliberation. Policy responses to protect these goods tend to fall in three corresponding governance sectors: self-determination is the focus of international and national security policies; accountable representation is addressed through electoral regulation; and threats to the quality of public debate and deliberation are countered by media regulation. The article also reveals some of the challenges and risks in these policy sectors, which can be seen in both innovative and failed policy designs.

 

INTERNATIONAL

UNESO Policy Brief #1

DISINFODEMIC: Deciphering COVID-19 disinformation

Access to reliable and accurate information is critical at the best of times, but during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be a matter of life and death. What follows is a summary of a research-based policy brief available in full here

European Commission: Policy Recommendations on Tackling Disinformation Online. Nov 2021

https://www.accessnow.org/cms/assets/uploads/2021/11/Policy-recommendations-on-tackling-disinformation_November-2021.pdf

The European Commission has the chance to effectively minimize the negative impact of disinformation through proper enforcement of existing rules and where needed draft new pieces of legislation such as for transparency requirements of content delivered to users. Targeted advertising is the core of disseminating disinformation. In order to prevent the spread of disinformation elaborated in “fake news factories” we should aim to regulate the distribution and the targeting techniques.

 

Disinformation : Laws, Policy, Regulation

Approaches to disinformation from a legal perspective include topics such as censorship vs. free speech, company liability for content as reflected in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, privacy of individual data, anti-trust legislation, surveillance, regulating social media platform functionality and algorithms, and pursuit of existing criminal law. Globally, there are many researchers, think tanks, NGO’s and governmental bodies contributing to the policy discussion.

 

Policies to tackle disinformation in EU member states

With the growth of internet penetration, it has become increasingly hard for audiences to determine what information they can trust. They are often exposed to fabricated content that is disseminated with the intent of misleading them. In turn, disinformation causes disruptions in society, especially in the context of elections. This report looks at some of the policy examples that aim to tackle this problem. It starts with an overview of the assessments of the Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM) for the specific variables that are devoted to the topic. We briefly describe the EU approach to disinformation, and, as a next step, we zoom in on seven EU member states, some of which held elections in the past years or introduced regulations related to disinformation that are worth looking into. The spread of disinformation is typically regulated by non-legislative methods, though a handful of countries have tried to use a legal approach to deal with the phenomenon. Some of the measures are still controversial, mainly because they might affect the freedom of expression. Moreover, there is a question as to whether they are complementary to a well-functioning European approach to combating disinformation.

 

Vanderbilt University. The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy: Hazardous Misinformation: Key Policy Levers

Digital technology allows for the frictionless spread of information, including false and manipulated content. As a nation that has enshrined freedom of speech in the First Amendment of its Constitution, the policy levers available to U.S. officials to confront the free flow of dangerous misinformation—whether pertaining to COVID-19, elections or other matters of existential significance to lives and our democratic institutions—are necessarily circumscribed. Thankfully, misinformation scholars have proposed policies that comply with constitutional limitations and have the potential to mitigate the hazards of misinformation.

 

Protecting Democracy from Disinformation: Normative Threats and Policy Responses

Following public revelations of interference in the United States 2016 election, there has been widespread concern that online disinformation poses a serious threat to democracy. Governments have responded with a wide range of policies. However, there is little clarity in elite policy debates or academic literature about what it actually means for disinformation to endanger democracy, and how different policies might protect it. This article proposes that policies to address disinformation seek to defend three important normative goods of democratic systems: self-determination, accountable representation, and public deliberation. Policy responses to protect these goods tend to fall in three corresponding governance sectors: self-determination is the focus of international and national security policies; accountable representation is addressed through electoral regulation; and threats to the quality of public debate and deliberation are countered by media regulation. The article also reveals some of the challenges and risks in these policy sectors, which can be seen in both innovative and failed policy designs.