IGF 2018 WS #95 Mapping the Complexities of the Information Disorder

Subtheme(s): 

Organizer 1: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Organizer 4: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 5: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Fake News has been high on the agenda in 2017 and 2018. Fake news is not just a PR problem, it is a democratic problem – rocking with the very foundation of our democratic processes. From Europe to Asia, leaders are rushing to adopt anti-fake news laws. Local, national and international projects are being set up to find solutions and remedies. But all these efforts focus on the trees, but not the forest, with the risk to even exacerbate the root causes of the fake news phenomenon. This session is build on the IGF2017 session “Fake news and possible solutions to access information” and EuroDIG PL2 session on “Information Disorder: Causes, Risks and Remedies”. Both sessions looked at how particular problems could be solved with specific remedies. This workshop serves to take a step back and look at the wider picture through systems modelling by outlining the system that feeds into the information disorder and understand how these remedies affect the overall balance - do we understand the consequences of the individual solutions that are being made? Or are they going to affect the overall system in such a manner that it will create new imbalances which then need to be resolved and thus create a new cycle of issues. Understanding the complexity of the system will allow us to understand emergent behaviours and engage in proactive and holistic policy making rather than reactive policy making that focuses on cause and effect solutions.

Format: 

Other - 90 Min
Format description: I would like to propose a workshop in a different format, in essence my idea is to map the complexity of fake news/information disorder and guide attending participants through the different steps of modelling to map a multistakeholder view of the issues.

Interventions: 

This session would be hosted by Nadia Tjahja who would present the issue and guide the audience through the different steps of systems modelling. Throughout the session, interventions will be held at key points during the process at the relevant steps. To open the session, Dr Constantin Malik will give an introduction to systems thinking and cybernetics by setting the scene on interdisciplinary interconnectivity and conveying how we can find balanced and holistics solutions by bringing different components together. At the first step of modelling (describing the system and creating variables), Mr Yrjö Lansipuro will host an intervention with the results of the EuroDIG PL2 session on the causes, risks and remedies of the information disorder to broaden the perspectives of the participants to think on the variety of aspects that are included in the information disorder. At a later stage, a moderated discussion with Dr Malik, Mr Lansipuro and Mr Michael Oghia will be held to comment and discuss the sustainability of the system based on the results provided by the participants. A last intervention will be held by Dr Malik to explore the different visual components that have been created through the session. The session is concluded by the host who will summarise the system, working process and future actionable points.

Diversity: 

The Org Team is composed of five young women from Europe (Netherlands, Switzerland, Lithuania), America and Australia. Moderated by a woman (the proposer), the other speakers are men from Austria, Finland and Serbia. We have a fourth (female) and fifth speaker (male) from Ukraine and Thailand respectively who expressed interest but are unwilling to tentatively commit pending the date and location of the IGF. This session is entirely reliant that the audience actively participates in bringing in different views so that we can see what each stakeholder needs. Anybody can join the discussions at any point. It's not your standard panel, but it is very accessible for people remotely, because we are also working with software they can engage directly online with our online moderator and submit their variables to our map too.

The session will open with an introduction by the host on the information disorder and the challenges that the IGF and EuroDIG faced when discussing the remedies and solutions, followed by an outline of the session and an explanation of the concept of “mapping complex systems”. This is followed by an intervention by the Dr Constantin Malik who will give an overview on the value of mapping the system to find holistic and balanced solutions in policy making. The host will then explain the different steps in system modelling and the expectations of this session: specifically, the session aims to bring different stakeholders together to discuss the information disorder through the different steps of systems modelling and map how these stakeholders directly and indirectly influence each other and eventually bring that together through visual components such as visual interactive feedback cycles, scenarios and simulations. After introducing the first step (describing the system and submitting variables), an intervention by Mr Yrjö Lansipuro will present the results of EuroDIG’s PL2 Session in which they explored the causes, risks and remedies of the information disorder which aims to inspire discussions on the different areas of the information disorder that exist and should be included in the map. This is followed by the participants of the session submitting variables and creating the influence matrix and effect systems, lead by the host, in which we can look at how the different components of the information disorder react with each other and diagnose feedback cycles to understand the behaviour of the system. An intervention by Dr Malik will allow us to explore the different visual maps that have been created based on the input from all the different stakeholders in the room. This is followed by a moderated discussion with Dr Malik, Mr Lansipuro and Mr Michael Oghia to comment and discuss the sustainability of the system. The last step will include a general evaluation of the viability and the behaviour of the system. Overall, through systems modelling we seek to diagnose the information disorder system by understanding where the system is reacting, where its acting parts are, where it is critical, where it is flexible and where it is reluctant to change. We can also find out how dependent it is, how far it is self-regulating or endangered by particular feedback. The evaluation will also show where one or the other of the cybernetic rules is violated and by which strategy or measure they can be better fulfilled.

Discussion Facilitation: 

The room will be divided in different discussion groups. The host will guide the participants through the different steps, which will take a couple of minutes in the form of a question, and the audience will then discuss and submit their discussion to online which is then mapped by the Org Team. Although there are several interventions, the majority of the time focuses on discussion time in which we explore the causes, solutions and consequences of the information disorder and how we can find balance through policy making. The participants are encouraged to actively contribute materials and think along with the mapping, which will evolve throughout the workshop, to constructively criticise and develop emergent behaviours.

Online Participation: 

This session will have a host who explains how the steps work and then participants engage among each other and submit the results of their discussions online but also verbally. The host and Org Team will walk between discussions to guide participants and answer questions and bring the results together to map the complexities of the field and set up the simulations. Online participation is encouraged in the submissions with an online moderator who can facilitate discussions either via chat or talking online (Skype/WebEx/Zoom), in essence, there would be multiple smaller groups in the room who submit their steps and an online group could submit their steps - all these different groups combined map the views of the different stakeholders regardless of background or physical presence. Three members of the Org team will be EuroDIG 2018 trained remote moderators and will have practical experience through their participation at EuroDIG 2018.

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678