Promote the need for sincere information for a democracy based on trust

Information disorder : Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making

Claire Wardle, Hossein Derakhshan

This report is an attempt to comprehensively examine information disorder and its related challenges, such as filter bubbles and echo chambers. While the historical impact of rumours and fabricated content have been well documented, we argue that contemporary social technology means that we are witnessing something new: information pollution at a global scale; a complex web of motivations for creating, disseminating and consuming these ‘polluted’ messages; a myriad of content types and techniques for amplifying content; innumerable platforms hosting and reproducing this content; and breakneck speeds of communication between trusted peers. The direct and indirect impacts of information pollution are difficult to quantify. We’re only at the earliest of stages of understanding their implications. Since the results of the ‘Brexit’ vote in the UK, Donald Trump’s victory in the US and Kenya’s recent decision to nullify its national election result, there has been much discussion of how information disorder is influencing democracies. More concerning, however, are the long-term implications of dis-information campaigns designed specifically to sow mistrust and confusion and to sharpen existing socio- cultural divisions using nationalistic, ethnic, racial and religious tensions. (…) In this report, we refrain from using the term ‘fake news’. (…) We therefore introduce a new conceptual framework for examining information disorder, identifying the three different types: mis-, dis- and mal-information. Using the dimensions of harm and falseness, we describe the differences between these three types of information (…). We also argue that we need to separately examine the ‘elements’ (the agent, messages and interpreters) of information disorder. (…) We also emphasise the need to consider the three different ‘phases’ (creation, production, distribution) of information disorder. (…) We must also understand the different types of messages being distributed by agents, so that we can start estimating the scale of each and addressing them. (…) Finally, we need to examine how mis-, dis- and mal-information are being consumed, interpreted and acted upon. The report ends with an explanation of thirty-four recommendations, targeted at technology companies, national governments, media organisations, civil society, education ministries and funding bodies.

Topic :  Recommendations for researchers and public policy makers  
Format :    
Edition :  Conseil de l'Europe  
Country :  EU 
Language  :  English 
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