This timely conference examined key issues relating to the spread of misinformation and disinformation online, following the publication of the Government’s White Paper on Online Harms.
Delegates assessed implications of proposals in the White Paper, including a statutory duty of care for online platforms towards their users, a requirement for platforms to employ dedicated fact-checkers, new codes of best practice and the new ‘RESIST’ toolkit announced by the Cabinet Office.
They also considered findings and recommendations from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee final report into disinformation and ‘fake news’, which called for wide-ranging reform of laws governing digital advertising, social media and data.
The seminar included updates and discussion on the current state of online disinformation, looking at the latest trends in its content, distribution and dissemination, as well as its origination - including concerns around the instigation of disinformation campaigns by state actors.
The agenda also looked at the current steps being taken to counter the spread of misleading information and material online, and the extent to which these measures are proving effective.
Further sessions considered what further steps might be required to overcome the key challenges and to develop effective countermeasures - including options for policy and regulation, education and public awareness, and potential technological solutions such as the use of AI to perform automated content scanning and takedown.
Also taking place in the context of the publication of the Cairncross Review into the future of the UK news industry, the conference included further discussion on how best to achieve a sustainable footing for high-quality journalism in the UK for the long term.
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