Mis and dis-information respectively refer to the spread of inaccurate or deliberately falsified content, often facilitated by digital platforms and social media. Misinformation is the unintentional spread of inaccurate information shared by those unaware that they are passing on falsehoods; disinformation is information that is not only inaccurate, but is also intended to deceive and is spread in order to inflict harm. Understanding the evolving trends in both is crucial to navigating the complex web of online information and averting potential security implications.
Social media platforms and messaging apps enable the swift sharing of content, making it possible for misinformation to reach a global audience within moments. Advancements in content creation tools, such as the highly publicised DALL-E, and a suite of apps like FaceSwap and DeepFaceLab, can produce deepfakes, and are further complicating the distinction between truth and fabrication. AI-generated media content convincingly manipulates audio and video, raising concerns about AI’s potential misuse in spreading false narratives.
Information consumption, meanwhile, continues to be highly polarised. Online algorithms often feed users content that aligns with their preexisting beliefs, reinforcing echo chambers, inhibiting exposure to diverse perspectives and hindering critical thinking. The echo chamber effect not only amplifies the spread of misinformation within specific groups but also makes it difficult to engage in constructive conversations based on accurate information.
Addressing mis- and disinformation requires a multi-pronged approach. This includes a combination of technological interventions, encryption mechanisms, regulatory measures, media literacy programs, and collective political commitment to upholding the integrity of information sharing. The IGF is one of the few venues that can facilitate the global cooperation necessary for confronting this global challenge.
Main and Cross-cutting Subthemes: Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety | AI & Emerging Technologies | Human Rights & Freedoms | Avoiding Internet Fragmentation
• Ms. Deborah Steele, Director of News, Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union
• Ms. Maria Ressa, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
• Ms. Salima Bah, Minister of Communications and Innovation, Sierra Leone
• Ms. Věra Jourová, European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency
• Msgr. Lucio Adrian Ruiz, Secretary of the Dicastery of Communication, Vatican
• Mr. Tatsuhiko Yamamoto, Professor, Keio University Law School
• Mr. Nic Suzor, Member, Meta Oversight Board