Disinformation on Steroids
Maria Ressa, CEO of the news outlet Rappler from the Philippines, is facing up to six years in prison after she was found guilty of “cyber libel” charges. A verdict that is seen as an extraordinarily damaging precedent for press freedom . “You live in Europe, you have power,” said Maria during our discussion on “Disinformation on Steroids” in which we talked about the implications of disinformation on social media platforms worldwide. She said that especially Europeans have the power to regulate Big Tech, which is necessary for the fight against disinformation worldwide. It is important to focus on tech, not on content, Ressa said.
Maksym Skubenko and Yuliia Zhaha of VoxCheck outlined the ongoing Russian disinformation campaigns that Ukrainians have to face for several years. Ukraine was one of the first countries that had to deal with massive disinformation campaigns through social media. Several fake accounts on Facebook amplify the spread of disinformation. But also messenger services are highly used in Ukraine to disseminate disinformation.
Cyriac Gbogou of the blogger community “AfricTivistes” outlined the problem of the lack of cultural understanding of social media platforms as well as the lack of moderators with language skills afar from languages spoken in Europe. He also emphasized the importance of educating people – young and old – to understand how social media platforms operate and how one can differentiate between high-quality news and disinformation.