Online disinformation: Finding the digital silver bullet


Facebook is one of the main reasons democracy is in such peril. The company’s algorithms favor the echo chamber, backing a user’s bias. That black hole is so full of fantasies and half-truths that it’s impossible for millions of people to have a basic grasp of the facts needed to make informed decisions, Timothy Egan writes for the New York Times:

A study in Science recently found that it’s possible “an entire cohort of Americans” lacks the digital smarts to distinguish made-up garbage from the truth on Facebook….As my colleagues Matthew Rosenberg and Kevin Roose wrote, Facebook favors the angry, and increasingly the elderly — those most likely to share falsehoods on Facebook. According to Gallup, people between the ages of 50 and 64 make up the company’s fastest-growing group of users in the United States, with those over 64 a close second.

In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Peter Pomerantsev discusses how changes in the modern information environment have been exploited by malign actors and facilitated the spread of disinformation around the world. Pomerantsev is a senior visiting fellow and co-director of the Arena program at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics. His newest book, This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality, travels to the frontlines of the disinformation age. Christopher Walker, the National Endowment for Democracy’s vice president for studies and analysis, and Shanthi Kalathil, senior director of NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, co-host the conversation.

Online Disinformation: Finding the silver bullet in the digital world


The spread of online disinformation is a threat that can deeply affect our society by hampering the ability of citizens to make informed choices, disrupting electoral processes and breaking the integrity of our democratic institutions. Its complexity represents a challenge that needs to be tackled on multiple fronts and through a more holistic approach, ECAS writes:

  • On November 12th ECAS is holding a forum on Online Disinformation: Finding the silver bullet in the digital world (above) which will focus on exploring solutions to countering online disinformation. By involving diverse stakeholders working in the field, we will take stock of the achievements made in tackling online disinformation in Europe and look at the way forward to protect citizens from this threat.
  • The conference will feature two interactive panels where decision-makers, civil society organisations, civic campaigners and academics will ‘challenge’ and comment each other’s positions on the subject of ‘online disinformation’. The panels will go through different aspects of the problem: the first will debate a possible regulatory approach to tackle online disinformation. The second panel will present efficient initiatives and actions to empower citizens and to build the necessary resilience to ensure a prosperous, safe and democratic digital future for European citizens.


When: November 12th, 2019. Venue: European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) 2 Rue Van Maerlant, Room VMA3, Bâtiment Van Maerlant, 1000 Brussels.
Agenda: View the full programme here
Registration: To register, please click here 

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