IGF 2020 WS #129 The Revolution won't be Televised, but Social Mediatised?

Time
Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 (15:10 UTC) - Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 (16:40 UTC)
Room
Room 3
About this Session
The session will discuss a very popular and timely issue, namely the power of social media. The way individual users or groups use social media platforms to influence and shape the public opinion of users and their followers. The session will offer a great discussion between different stakeholders and experts in the field, ranging from Facebook representatives to children’s rights advocates. Topical, interactive, revolutionary.

Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Sabrina Vorbau, European Schoolnet/ Insafe
Organizer 2: David NG, eHelp Association
Organizer 3: Joachim Kind , Landeszentral fuer Medien und Kommunikation
Organizer 4: Niels Van Paemel, Child Focus

Speaker 1: Anastasiya Dzyakava, Government, Eastern European Group
Speaker 2: Jutta Croll, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: David Miles, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Magdalena Duszyńska , Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 5: Ricardo Campos, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Moderator

Sabrina Vorbau, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

David NG, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Rapporteur

Joachim Kind , Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Format

Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

In order to facilitate a multi-stakeholder dialogue, policy questions will draw-up on the following areas: Trust, Media and Democracy: - What are the responsibilities of digital platforms and public authorities in regulating content, and where and how should the balance be struck between freedom of expression and public safety? - What kind of collaboration among Internet platforms and media outlets could work to fight disinformation and fake news online? - What is digital sovereignty, is it positive or negative, and how are national and international laws applied on the internet? Digital Safety to enable a healthy and empowering digital environment for all: - How can stakeholders better understand the impact technology can have on freedom of expression and other human rights? - How can concrete actions such as human rights impact assessments and multi-stakeholder consultations support policy responses to those challenges? - How can children’s rights to participation, access to information, and freedom of speech be preserved and balanced with their right to be protected from violence and abuse in the online environment? - What can be done to model responsible behavior online? - How can cooperation and collaboration on national, regional and global levels help to counteract disinformation and support media literacy education for all?

This session aims to address relevant issues that fall under the Thematic Track of Trust. More specifically, it will discuss the way social media platforms have reshaped the way we interact online, express ourselves and possibly affect others. In line with this, amongst others issues such as human rights, digital safety, child online safety, freedom of expression online and disinformation (fake news) will be addressed during the discussion. Furthermore, the session will look into how individuals (e.g. influencers/ content creators) as well as civil society movements (e.g. Fridays for Future) use social media to shape and disseminate their achievements. What are the factors for their large scale success? And which role do social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter play in this regard? Providing on one hand opportunities to support freedom of speech and making sure that everyone's voice is heard. While on the other hand they also need to take measures to prevent challenges and risks such as disinformation, hate speech and other issues mentioned above.

SDGs

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Description:

The workshop will begin with a high-level panel presenting different perspectives to the topic. This will be done in an interactive manner by two BIK Youth Ambassadors (https://www.betterinternetforkids.eu/web/youth/ambassadors) who will post poll questions, images or short videos to the high-level and the audience to respond to. 

The high-level panel will be composed by multi-stakeholder representatives, including this David Miles, Safety Director at Facebook (Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA)), who will bring in the latest updates on features and services Facebook offers their users while making sure safety and privacy measurements are in place. Ricardo Resende Campos (Director of LGPD (Legal Grounds for Privacy Design) São Paulo, Brazil), who currently also acts as Chair of Public Law, Legal Theory and Media at the University of Frankfurt will intervene by giving an insight of current network regulation laws at a global level. Furthermore, Jutta Croll (Stiftung Digitale Chancen/IGF MAG member), Anastasiya Dyakova, Adviser on children online safety of the Vice-Prime-Minister/Minister for Digital Transformation of Ukraine and Magdalena Duszyńska (from the IGF 2020 host country Poland/ University of Wrocław, Department of Social Sciences and Humanities) will feed into the discussion highlighting in particular what safeguards should be applied to secure freedom of speech, children’s rights and well-being online. Moreover, a discussion will spring up on the possibilities to develop global standards to tackle disinformation. In addition, the organizer is in touch with the “Fridays for Future” movement for possible contribution representing one of the largest mass movement of our current time. 

Following the interactive part, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions to the high-level panel. The online moderator will make sure that incoming questions through the chat box will be monitored and answered throughout the whole session. 

Draft agenda: 

  • Welcome and introduction of high-level panel (’15 minutes)
  • Interactive discussion on the role of social media in forming public opinion of people. A dialogue led by BIK Youth Ambassadors with the high-level panel and audience (’45 minutes)
  • Q&A (’20 minutes)
  • Final closing words by high-level panel and takeaways (‘10min)
     
Expected Outcomes

The session will discuss the role of social media and the way certain individuals or groups use it to communicate and possibly shape the opinion of others and especially the one of minors. In this regard, the session will highlight that tackling disinformation is a shared responsibility of various stakeholders to ensure a free and safe internet for all citizens. While different opinions will remain on what instruments/measurements are the most appropriate to achieve this, it should become clearer which initiatives/resources are available to support more awareness and education in this area.

In terms of format, the session will be organised as a facilitated dialogue. Led by the onsite moderator, the workshop will kick-off with a 30 minutes high-level introductory panel discussion. Each panelist will give a short statement outlining their perspective on the topic, outlining opportunities but also threats freedom of speech on social media brings along (see further details in the workshop description above). Following the introductory panel, different break-out group discussion will take place in order to pro-actively involve all participants in the debate. For 30 minutes four different table discussions will be led by representatives from civil society, academia and youth initiatives , in order to fully fulfill the multi-stakeholder approach, respecting as well gender, age and geographical balance. Table discussions will evolve around the policy questions mentioned above. Out of the four tables, two tables will discuss opportunities social media provides in our daily lives (e.g. access to information, freedom of expression, etc.) while the other two tables will discuss challenges that social media brings along (e.g. disinformation, hate speech, etc.). Outcomes of the break-out discussions will then be shared in plenary afterwards (please see intended agenda above). High-level panelists will join the group discussions as well. The workshop will conclude with final closing remarks by the high-level panel and takeaways summarized by the onsite moderator and rapporteur. In addition, the online moderator will ensure that remote participants are able to communicate questions to the onsite moderator throughout the whole debate. Complementary to this, a social media campaign on Twitter will help to give further visibility to the session. Live tweeting during the session will open the discussion to a wider online audience and will give remote participants the possibility to get directly involved in the debate.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Internet technologies and specifically social media have provided today’s society with a new public space for communication and expression, as they offer a chance to participate in discussions about matters of common concern. The internet and more specifically social media platforms offer users a chance to interpret news provided by the media, shape or reshape them according to their ideologies and post them via their accounts. In many countries across the world, social media transformed communication from a mouthpiece for the government to a tool used to express thoughts and opinions about events. Thus, it plays a major role in shaping public opinion of today’s society. Social media influencers are especially popular among minors. Hence, influencers seem to play an important role in minors' lives because minors spend a large part of their time watching, viewing, liking, forwarding, and commenting on influencers' content. As such, the level of involvement with influencer content seems high. Moreover, minors turn to these influencers not only for entertainment, but also for information, advice, company and comfort. However, scientifically-grounded insights on the role of social media influencers in the lives of children and adolescents are still scarce. Firstly because influencers are assumed to be so appealing because they are similar to their audiences. They are often perceived as 'the boy or girl next door' with whom identification is easy. However, there are probably more reasons for the attraction of influencers. Hence a multi-stakeholder discussion is needed to unravel mechanisms that explain the appeal of social media influencers. Secondly, the impact of social media influencers on minors may have both desirable and undesirable consequences. Influencers may inspire minors to behave pro-socially or more healthy, but they may also show bad examples (e.g. smoking, drinking). In addition, influencer content may also affect minors' psychological well-being, materialism, and body satisfaction. Thirdly, because social media influencers are assumed to have impact on their audiences, they are also used by third parties for commercial purposes. For example, brands pay influencers to promote products in content that influencers create. Similarly, governments or NGO's turn to influencers to promote healthy, social, or environmental friendly behavior among minors. Lastly, some social media influencers are often minors themselves. With major brands signing up for paid partnerships, a growing number of child and adolescent influencers (and their parents) are striving to make a profit, which leads to important legal, ethical and philosophical questions. Against this background, this workshop aims to enhance the understanding of the role of social media influencers/movements in the lives of people and most specifically minors.

Relevance to Theme: Social media networks have reshaped the internet and give opportunities for everyone to showcase themselves freely. However, people are also exposed to only what their “friends” choose to share and if that content is valuable, it will be spread further through friend networks. Moreover, activities formed on social media platforms like Facebook are considered a major sensor of public opinion. Hence, social media networks are considered by activists as a bullhorn that can reach many people through shared space on an unlimited scale. That said, the proposed session will contribute to the narrative of the Thematic Track Trust - as it relates to the need for people to be safe and secure online while being able to express themselves freely in a healthy and empowering digital environment. Associated issues that will be picked up during this session are: Digital safety, child online safety, human rights, hate speech, social media platforms, freedom of expression online, disinformation/fake news and democracy.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: Complementary to the online remote participation, a social media campaign on Twitter will help to give further visibility to the session both prior, during and after the event. In addition to the generic event hashtag a dedicated workshop hashtag will be developed by the organizers. Live tweeting during the session will open the discussion to a wider online audience and will give remote participants the possibility to get directly involved in the debate. In addition to the online moderator, the organizer will nominate a representative from the organization team to monitor and respond to conversations on Twitter throughout the whole workshop.

 

Agenda
  • Welcome and introduction of high-level panel (’15 minutes)
  • Interactive discussion on the role of social media in forming public opinion of people. A dialogue led by BIK Youth Ambassadors with the high-level panel and audience (’45 minutes)
  • Q&A (’20 minutes)
  • Final closing words by high-level panel and takeaways (‘10min)
1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
What are the responsibilities of digital platforms and public authorities in regulating content, and where and how should the balance be struck between freedom of expression and public safety?
How can concrete actions such as human rights impact assessments and multi-stakeholder consultations support policy responses to those challenges?
How can children’s rights to participation, access to information, and freedom of speech be preserved and balanced with their right to be protected from violence and abuse in the online environment?
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

This session addressed relevant issues that fall under the Thematic Track of Trust, but also touched upon Thematic Tracks “Inclusion” and “Data”. More specifically, it discussed the way social media platforms have reshaped the way we interact online, express ourselves and possibly affect others. In line with this, issues such as identity, data privacy, disinformation, freedom of expression and youth participation were discussed. 

3. Key Takeaways

The session discussed the role of social media and the way certain individuals or groups use it to communicate and possibly shape the opinion of others and especially the one of minors. In this regard, the session once again highlight that a multi-stakeholder approach is needed to tackle issues such as disinformation and ensure a free and safe internet for all citizens. While different opinions remained on what instruments/measurements are the most appropriate to achieve this, it was agreed that early childhood education is key but also according adult education is necessary. In this regard, initiatives such as the Insafe network of European Safer Internet Centres are important sources that raise awareness but also provide services and trainings to different stakeholders in the field of online safety. 

In the spirit of the workshop’s title the panel also agreed that the revolution is on going and surely social mediatized. Looking into the future, most of the panel also believes that the revolution is democratised as social media provides a platform that allows everyone to express their opinion. 
 

6. Final Speakers

Speaker 1: Anastasiya Dzyakava, Government, Eastern European Group
Speaker 2: Jutta Croll, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: David Miles, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Magdalena Duszyńska , Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 5: Ricardo Campos, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

Gender issues per not discussed per-se, but did come up during the discussion, for example in regard to the recent women strike/march in Poland. It was pointed out that social media provided a great platfrom to give visability to the events and a voice to everyone. 

9. Group Photo
Group picture Insafe Workshop: The Revolution won't be Televised but Social Mediatised?