Doing some very last minute work on a @CroakeyNews submission to a digital industry code of practice on how digital products and services would address disinformation.… It's due by 5pm today. #RegulateDigitalPlatforms
If any health organisations/researchers etc have made submissions, it would be very helpful if you could flick them to me - thankyou! @_PHAA_ @AHPA_AU #regulateDigitalPlatforms @NACCHOAustralia @CHFofAustralia @AusHealthcare @AlisonVerhoeven @LeanneWells63 @JulieLeask
Here is a Discussion Paper on An Australian Voluntary Code of Practicefor Disinformation Prepared for Digital Industry Group Inc. (DIGI) by UTS Centre for Media Transition… Some tweets from this to follow #RegulateDigitalPlatforms
"Over time, digital platforms have introduced measures to counter disinformation & enable the public to make informed decisions in relation to content; the Code provides an opportunity to develop a common set of principles and commitments in relation to this work by platforms..."
"The development of this Code has been drivenby the Digital Industry Group Inc .DIGI is a non-profit industry association that advocates for the interests of the digital industry in Australia, with Google, Facebook, Twitter and Verizon Media as its founding members...
DIGI associate members inc Redbubble, eBay, GoFundMe and "DIGI’s vision is a thriving Australian digitally enabled economy that fosters innovation, a growing selection of digital products and services, and where online safety and privacy are protected."
Interesting to contrast this vision with the findings of a recent US House of Representatives inquiry into the immense market power of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google which outlined potential benefits of systemic reform and regulation of the digital platforms
The inquiry found companies were using their dominant market power in ways that weaken democracy; erode diversity, entrepreneurship and innovation; degrade privacy online; & undermine the vibrancy of the free and diverse press #regulatedigitalplatforms
The discussion paper cites The Digital News Report for 2020: 64% of Australians report high levels of concern about misinformation. This has been consistently high since 2018, and ranks Australia as the tenth most concerned nation out of 40 markets surveyed.
This concern is predominantly around misinformation on social media, where strong perceptions of ‘the prevalence of fake news’ bcorrelate to notably low levels of trust in news sourced on digital platforms.
Despite steady increases in the use of social media to access news, nearly half who consume news this way do not trust what they see.
Despite lower levels of engagement with news on social media, older generations express highest levels of concern. Younger people less concerned re misinformation but more likely to fact-check news accessed online. ie higher levels of literacy for those who've grown up digital
The paper notes that false information existed well before the digital era, being spread by politicians, corporations, media, for eg. "However, the complexity and scale of information pollution in our digitally connectedworld presents an unprecedented challenge"
It notes UNESCO uses these definitions: 1. Disinformation is false information that is deliberately created or disseminated with the express purpose to cause harm. Producers of disinformation typically have political, financial, psychological, or social motivations.
2. Misinformation is information that is false, but not intended to cause harm. For example, individuals who don’t know a piece of information is false may spread it on social media in an attempt to be helpful.
3. Malinformation is genuine information that is shared to cause harm. This includes private or revealing information that is spread to harm a person or reputation.
[Seems to me there are some grey areas in those definitions of disinformation and misinformation.]
And here are some definitions from the EU code:…
And here is a very important example of disinformation cited by the paper that may be of interest to #publichealth and #climatehealth peeps (I'm not repeating the hashtag for obvious reasons) @coopesdetat @CroakeyNews
"The entities that engage in disinformation have a diverse set of goals." - financial, political (inc seeking to polarise/fracture societies), 'entertainment' eg bullying and trolling. [NB no mention of white supremacy, racism]
Paper also addresses media's role, cites 2018 report,The Oxygen of Amplification: ‘it is problematic enough when everyday citizens help spread false, malicious, or manipulative information across social media....
"It is infinitely more problematic when journalists, whose work can reach millions, do the same.". Paper says, this suggests that professional journalists and news organisations have a responsibility to be aware of the role they play in spreading and amplifying falsehoods
Paper says: "While verification training has been aimed at journalists, recent examples show this should also be extended to public figures such as celebrities, politicians & sporting heroes...
"... they too have a responsibility to be aware of the role they play in spreading and amplifying falsehoodsdue to their elevated reach."
Paper identifies 5 common themes in industry efforts to counter mis-and disinformation. 1. Policies to respond to mis-and disinformation content 2. Measures to address inauthentic behaviour eg fake accounts, automated bots...
3. Credibility signalling & contextual information eg measures intended to assist users identify reliability, trustworthiness and source of news content featured on a service 4. Measures to promote quality content 5. Media literacy efforts to educate about mis-and disinformation
Notable that none of these measures mention #RegulateDigitalPlatforms. [We know from so many other public health concerns how industry self-regulation so often fails to protect the public interest]
How Microsoft is responding to disinformation, misinformation etc
How Twitter is responding to disinformation, misinformation etc
How Facebook is responding to disinformation, misinformation etc
How Google is responding to disinformation, misinformation etc
How Apple and other companies are responding to disinformation, misinformation etc
Knowing the tactics that many industries have used to resist regulation, I feel very uncomfortable about journalists, journalism researchers and media organisations taking so many $s directly from Facebook et al...
EG "Facebook announced $1m grants to support coronavirus fact-checking. This is in addition to Facebook’s existing Journalism Project which provides funding for training and resources to over 400 newsrooms worldwide....
"Further news resourcing initiatives in 2020 include an additional $125m to support the news industry coronavirus response. This includes grant resourcing for local news as part of the Facebook Journalism Project."
It's different to revenue being raised for journalism through regulation. Eg the difference between tobacco industry funding researchers directly (ugh!) VS taxes or other regulatory means raising $s from tobacco industry to be used for public health #RegulateDigitalPlatforms
"Facebook has also partnered with Reuters, the world’s largest multimedia news provider, to help newsrooms worldwide to identify ‘deep fakes’ and manipulated media through a free online training course.
"This is one example of a broader trend in such efforts to initiate partnerships with news organisations, such as the Google News Initiative which provides fellowships, training, technology research and grants for news organisations, journalists and fact checking outlets.
"Industry also partner with civil society on educational efforts. Eg, Twitter has partnered with UNESCO to publish a new handbook for educators, entitled Teaching and Learning with Twitter aimed at raising awareness of media and information literacy among parents, educators.
"Google has partnered with the Australian non-profit Alannah & Madeleine Foundation on the development digital media literacy tool, which teaches high school students to critically analyse and navigate the online environment...
What are other countries doing? "The leading eg of regulatory initiatives to address disinformation is the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation. Implemented in late 2018, it has been adopted by a number of global digital platforms & is now the subject of independent assessment.
For India and Taiwan, disinformation about natural disasters is of particular concern. In both countries, legislation has been used for these measures; legislation is also being contemplated in the US to address the specific problem of deep fakes.
In Canada, since May 2019 there has been a Digital Charter that includes disinformation, legislation has been used in a more general way to promote transparency, specifically recognising the role that digital platforms play in modern democracies...
Am now reading: AUSTRALIAN CODE OF PRACTICE ON DISINFORMATION:… Consultations on this close 5pm today. #PublicHealth submissions desperately needed!
ROFL at this statement in the proposed code: "Digital Platforms value their users’ privacy." #YeahSure
Again, I can find no mention of such harms as: racism, white supremacy, hate speech... #SDOH

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More from @MelissaSweetDr

25 Nov
This afternoon I will be tweeting on using social media for research translation & impact, & professional development & advocacy - from a #CroakeyPopUp workshop w @SummerMayFinlay hosted by @BronFredericks & @atsisuq
Before we get started, I will re-share some of the resources and links that we've shared at #CroakeyPopUp hashtag: This one on Twitter and hashtags
Here's a useful resource on promoting your journal articles, and here's a journal showing some ways how:… #CroakeyPopUp cc @atsisuq
Read 37 tweets
8 Sep
It would be unwise of the media to uncritically amplify @ScottMorrisonMP talking up the NSW response to #COVID19 as part of his attack on @DanielAndrewsMP et al & the Victorian response. For starters...
He is playing a short-term political game when the outcomes of the NSW response are still unfolding. Many in NSW must be anxious about the cases in healthcare workers at Sydney hospitals:…
Would be interested to hear what public health people in NSW think of the PM's statements, given that the decision to keep NSW "open for business" is being driven by political & economic considerations. How much more difficult has this approach made the work of #publichealth?
Read 10 tweets
8 Jun
Thread: some context re this citation for Tony Abbott: "For eminent service to the people and Parliament of Australia, particularly as Prime Minister, and through significant contributions to trade, border control, and to the Indigenous community"…
A @CroakeyNews article from Sept 2014: Indigenous leaders plea to PM Abbott to step in on “chaotic” policy, funding environment…
The article cites this statement from Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander orgs:… "Budget cuts to Indigenous Affairs were impairing the ability of community-controlled organisations to deliver frontline services...
Read 19 tweets
20 May
Now up at ⁦@TheAusInstitute⁩ webinar - ⁦@zalisteggall⁩ raising concerns about lack of transparency & proper process of #CovidCommission
Cites IMF recommendations that decarbonisation be part of pandemic stimulus spending, eg…
Says it is important to continue with the National Cabinet process (as @GregHuntMP also talked about at another webinar this week). Says it will be important for dealing with the climate crisis.
Read 12 tweets
23 Mar
Recommend taking time to read the latest Australian Health Protection Principal Committee statement in full, published today (23 March) following y'days meeting.…
While the increase in cases is worrying, the AHPPC is suggesting Australia in a better situation at this stage of the pandemic than other countries were, ie Italy & USA. The graph below compares 6 countries on the day they reported more than 1000 confirmed cases. #COVID19
"More than half our cases are still imported from overseas or their direct contacts. We have one of the lowest #COVID19 test positivity rates in the world (0.9% compared to USA 13%, UK 5% and even ROK 3%).
Read 17 tweets
2 Mar
In the US, more than 450 public health, human rights & legal experts & organizations have signed this open letter, "Achieving A Fair and Effective #COVID19 Response":…
It is addressed to Vice-President Mike Pence, & other Federal, State & Local Leaders. Clearly the letter is shaped by the particular political & policy context of the US. BUT it does raise many issues important for Australia as well. #Coronavirus #COVID19
How DO we ensure proper care & respect for the rights of those most vulnerable, inc those in prisons & other institutions, aged care facilities etc. Those with limited resources/capacity for preparing & dealing with what is to come. #Coronavirus #COVID19
Read 21 tweets

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