Westminster Media Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Tackling fake news and online misinformation

Morning, Friday, 27th November 2020


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine the priorities for policy, regulation and industry action in tackling fake news and online misinformation.


We are pleased to include speakers from DCMS and Ofcom, and along with organisations including the Advertising Association, BBC News, BT, Facebook, Google UK, and TikTok.


The discussion is bringing stakeholders together with key policy officials who are due to attend from the Cabinet Office; DCMS; Ofcom; the CMA; GCHQ; the Home Office; the IPO; HMRC; the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government.


The discussion at a glance:

  • assessing current key threats:
    • COVID-19 - the extent of the spread of online misinformation associated with the pandemic, and the work of the Rapid Response Unit
    • technology and health - looking at the rumours and campaigns in areas such as 5G and Anti-Vax
    • democratic institutions and processes - including reported attempts to influence elections, and targeted campaigns directed at political figures
    • online hate - misinformation directed at ethnic and other groupings and individuals in society
  • countermeasures:
    • effectiveness - assessing the strategies and action taken so far by online platforms and social media companies, and other mass media outlets
    • agility - how the response and the approach is changing to deal with new and emerging threats
    • technology - its role in speeding up identification of fake news, including the impact of AI
  • next steps - further measures that platforms, public bodies, regulators, campaigners and other stakeholders should implement to counteract the spread of misinformation online, including:
    • building resilience against coordinated disinformation
    • detection and takedown measures
    • warning messages and alerts for users who have engaged with misleading content online
    • building in ‘friction’ to content sharing
  • policy - assessing measures set out in the Government’s proposals to tackle online harms and how they relate to combating misinformation and online hate crimes:
    • the proposed statutory duty of care for online platforms towards their users
    • whether these measures go far enough in tackling the issues
  • regulation - priorities in an the evolving landscape, including what more can be done to work with online platforms and credit those who are taking proactive steps

A scan of relevant developments:

  • Social media giants agree package of measures with UK Government to tackle vaccine disinformation -  Facebook, Twitter and Google agreeing to commit to swifter responses to tackling fake news, to working with public health bodies to promote factual and reliable messages, and to the principle of removing profit incentives from spreading anti-vax content
  • the Online Harms White Paper - with aims to protect children and vulnerable people online, and:
    • the Government’s Initial consultation response
    • Further delay to online harms legislation ‘unjustifiable’ says DCMS Committee Chair ­- the Committee’s response to the delay to publication of legislation until next year
  • Government minded to appoint Ofcom as online harms regulator - as part of its response and with Ofcom’s Raising awareness of online harms programme
  • government specialist units and initiatives - including The Rapid Response Unit - working from the Cabinet Office and No 10, the DCMS Counter Disinformation Cell and the SHARE checklist
  • Half of UK adults exposed to false claims about coronavirus - findings from Ofcom
  • the Russia report - from The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament which found in part that UK is clearly a target for Russian disinformation and subsequent Government response
  • Misinformation in the COVID-19 Infodemic - the report from the DCMS Committee discussing the causes, responses and work to be done in relation to misinformation during the pandemic
  • Communications in the coronavirus crisis: lessons for the second wave - from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism suggesting a growing risk of people being un- or misinformed as a consequence making little use of or distrusting news about the pandemic
  • Government response to the Cairncross Review: a sustainable future for journalism - with a commitment to develop a media literacy strategy as part of the Online Harms White Paper
  • improving public information campaigns - the Government Communications Service commissioning research on social media target audiences and key influencers
  • Reform of the Communications Offences - Law Commission consultation including proposals to raise the threshold on those knowingly spreading false communications

The agenda:

  • Online misinformation and the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Tackling fake news and online misinformation - the effectiveness of current countermeasures, the role of technology, and dealing with new and emerging threats
  • Misinformation and media literacy: findings from recent Ofcom research
  • The impact of online misinformation on advertising
  • Responding to the challenges of misinformation and related online harms - international collaboration, coordinated disinformation campaigns, and improving monitoring and verification
  • Next steps for policy in combating online misinformation

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from both Houses of Parliament, and officials from the Cabinet Office; the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation; CMA; DCMS; the Department for Education; the Department for Transport; GCHQ; HMRC; the Home Office; IPO; Ofcom; Ofwat; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government.


Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from representatives from digital platforms and social media companies, artificial intelligence and machine learning specialists, media companies, their suppliers and advisers, public service and commercial broadcasters, organisations and individuals representing the interests of consumers and other special interests, cyber security and security specialists, analysts, consultants, academics, lawyers, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference



Keynote Speaker

Professor Rasmus Nielsen

Director, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Professor of Political Communication, University of Oxford

Keynote Speakers

Oscar Tapp-Scotting

Deputy Director Security and International, DCMS

Alison Preston

Co-director, Making Sense of Media Programme and Head, Making Sense of Media Research, Ofcom

Professor Rasmus Nielsen

Director, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Professor of Political Communication, University of Oxford

Konrad Shek

Deputy Director, Policy and Regulation, Advertising Association

Chairs

Baroness Grender

Member, House of Lords Communications and Digital Select Committee and Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Commercial Radio

Khalid Mahmood MP

Shadow Minister for Defence Procurement

Speakers

Katie O’Donovan

Head of Public Policy, Google UK

Professor Chris Marsden

Professor of Internet Law, University of Sussex and Director, Sussex Centre for Information Governance Research

Bryony Hurst

Partner and Head of Social Media, Bird & Bird

Rebecca Stimson

Head of UK Public Policy, Facebook

Dhruv Ghulati

Chief Executive Officer, Factmata

Professor Imran Awan

Professor of Criminology, Birmingham City University

Michael Wendling

Editor, Trending and Anti-disinformation Unit, BBC News

Helen Burrows

Head of Policy, BT

Elizabeth Kanter

Director Government Relations and Public Policy UK, TikTok