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IGF 2020 - Day 9 - WS180 Trust, Media Ethics & Governance During COVID-19 Crisis

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  You need to show your PPT.  It's okay now.  We can see.

   >> YUN LONG:  Can you see now? it is there for us in the conference it is available.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Yeah.  This is it.

   >> YUN LONG:  Okay.  This is my PPT.  Great.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Can you stop the sharing, we have to start now?

(no English translation).

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Great.  Thank you very much.  Okay.  Let's start.  Okay.  Hi, everyone.  Welcome to the panel, this session which is Trust, Media, Ethics and Governance During the COVID-19 Crisis.  So good morning, good evening, and welcome to our session.

So, first of all, let me introduce myself and also my colleagues.  So, I am Dr. Chin from China, so I'm the Section's Moderator.  I will moderate the section with my other colleagues, Mr. Wang Shu and also Mr. Koene.  And this is to discuss the impact of COVID-19 and global impact system and related citizens related to the issue of trust, media, and information flow.

So our section combines the local and global perspectives of Internet governance and also media communications, so we would like to build up with speakers from China, Europe, India, Singapore, to discuss those pressing issues in the disciplinary and multidimensional approach from diverse geographical and stakeholder perspective, so therefore our panelists will speak from this two platforms, audience research, policy and regulatory, and algorithm perspective.  So, the issue we want to discuss today is the role and responsibility of digital platforms, social media, governments, and the public in articulating information and also protecting human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We also want to discuss the best practice to refute disinformation, fake news, hate speech, during the pandemics.  And most importantly, the role of technology in developing and educational programs to empower citizens.

The best practice to uphold in the integrity of individualism and public trust during the health crisis, so we have six speakers.  So, let me introduce them first.  So, we have Professor Eun Long from the Chinese Communication University of China and he's she's Director of digital ethics and chair of ethics division of Chinese technology for science and technology journalism.  We have Ms. Amirita Choudhury and President, and western Asia-Pacific Internet Governance Forum.  And we have Mr. Shu Wang deputy Chief Administrator of Board in China.  And we have Elinor Carmi postdoc research associate in digital media and society at University in UK.  And then we have Professor Peng Hwa Ang and is he professor of school of communication and information at Tech logical University and Weinan Yuan and from global ethics, and so welcome to the panelists and so we will invite each speaker for eight minutes of presentation and of that we will some minutes discussion among them, and then we'll open the floor to invite you to ask your questions.

In the meantime, you can also post your questions in the chat room and also Q&A sections.  Okay.  Let's start -- let's invite Professor Long, so Professor Long, are you ready?  Can you share your PPT?  Thank you.

   >> YUN LONG:  Hi.  I can share my screen now.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Yes, please.

   >> YUN LONG:  It's okay?

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Yeah.  We can see.

   >> YUN LONG:  Yeah.  It's my PPT.  Yes.  Hello, everyone.  I am Yun Long and today my topic is Regain Trust Communication Governance in the China and Beyond the Post-Pandemic Era.

So, the Coronavirus Is a Public Health Event Which (Audio Breaking Up) it is an epidemic of citizen field is informed, and the challenge to governance of communication in such European context is also mixed with an overwhelming information.  The most diverse communicator and quality of the content virus.  The epidemic community has shown great concern about the new situation and the new challenges as well.  A service of academic studies analyzed rumors and choose cooperation between different media and incorrigibility of different information channels and discussed the trust dilemma, trust restoration, trust reconstruction, and the role of the government.

This research results provide a Chinese context and global perspective for communication and governance in the post-pandemic era.

So, if it there was ever a time for the media to act as a force to holding power to account in the public interest, the coronavirus pandemic is it.  (audio breaking up).

We're trying to illustrate the landscape of media reports as well as channels fighting against the COVID-19, combining with related data and case analysis and discuss hard to gain and trust of communication governance in this era.

The topics and the questions are as follows, the rumors and the truth at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the credibility of different platforms and communication channels, including the traditional media, social media, and other content producers, the public welfare organizations trust reshaping, such as regular society of channel hoping which related some key issues with media ethics.  The synergy and the framework competition among different media reports, and the how to deal with the dilemma between academic, policymaker, and media and public, and also platforms as well as government playing in such a pandemic crisis.

So, disaster crisis and social -- this direction of public opinion is in the context of the new corona epidemic, and Dr. Wang from University of China did analysis based on the specifics based on the socialization of context of disaster crisis.  The study illustrates that first Hubi and Wuhan people resulted in incomplete trust from the government and preventable and -- by the local health commission and governance measures.

This related to the -- of all the people.  (audio breaking up) at the beginning of the epidemic, and second forced information, forced news or rumors such as traditional Chinese traditional medicine, and can suppress the new coronavirus which triggered panic and related to group behavior.  The information released and embeddedness of people accelerated the social reproduction of rumors.  However, the contradictions of information release and absence of mainstream information relates have led to uncertain information in the post era and interferes with the spirit of public opinion and the overflow of negative has caused emotional transformation of the people.

It can be seen that in the early stage of the outbreak the public opinion field was faced with such phenomena as the crisis of trust and uncertain information and the creditability of it into personal communication and media is information in the channel (audio cutting out) -- in the public opinion is closely related to the trust status of the public opinion environment, and makes sense of the differences in creditability of different channels should be very important to regain trust.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Professor Long, you have three minutes.

   >> YUN LONG:  Okay.  It's almost.  So, the creditability doctor selected when Wuhan was closed and conducted a survey of medicines in five citizens in Wuhan, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu and of the channels it's significantly higher than interpersonal communication and self-media.  The second trust of Wuhan medicines in the place where the epidemic occur -- (audio breaking up).

The official channels -- internal communication is more trusted than media blasts, and creditability of media about the epidemic -- (no audio).

   >> AMIRITA CHOUDHURY:  I think we're unable to hear Professor Long.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Yeah.  I think Professor Long, can you hear us?

   >> AMIRITA CHOUDHURY:  I think she dropped out.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Yeah.  I can see.  So, we'll just wait for her, you know, for a few minutes.

   >> AMIRITA CHOUDHURY:  We could perhaps continue.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  She's coming back.  Okay.  Hello?  No?  Or maybe we can move to -- okay.  So probably we have to wait for Professor Long and at the same time we can probably invite our second speaker, Amirita, maybe you can jump in and when Professor Long comes back, we can switch to her.

   >> AMIRITA CHOUDHURY:  Right.  Thank you so much, Yik Chan and hello everyone and welcome to the session.  Certain things which I would like to share, you know, that the issue related to trust online, misinformation, fake news, has been prevalent for a very long time and it has been there much before the pandemic.  However, what COVID-19 did is amplify the issues, bring it out in the open and into the spotlight.

So, today, I would be sharing the Indian perspective, primarily because I belong to India and, secondly, India presents certain very interesting paradoxes.  For example, we are a country with second largest Internet user base, but we have nearly 70% of our people yet to be connected online.  We are an emerging country with limited resources, and at this point of time, we're having more than 8.64 million people infected by COVID and the numbers are rising.  Thankfully the mortality as per health officials is not so high, so we are at the midst of the pandemic and we're facing it day in and day out.

What we realized during COVID-19 was our dependency on the Internet has grown tremendously, and in fact all aspects of our life, be it education, work from home, shopping, interaction, entertainment, health, et cetera.  In fact, as more and more of the citizen-centric services with information related to the pandemic moved online, it was a bone for people who had had access for the Internet.  However, for people who did not have Internet access, such as women or marginalized communities, or certain rural pockets, many of these services and opportunities became unavailable or diminished, and that is a concern.

Also, many of the direct benefit facilities which were provided by the government as relief during the pandemic, especially for economic by backward people or the marginalized communities, was through mobile banking or Internet-enabled use.

But in a country where people do not have Internet access or the cost of smart phones are really high, despite all of these good intentions, this created a disbalance between the haves and the have notes.  Therefore, we realize that Internet is crucial for all, especially if we want to build an inclusive and empowered society.  And governments really need to focus on getting people connected and making access affordable.

What we also found like other places was there was a surge of misinformation and fake news during the pandemic.  In fact, we witnessed hundreds of thousands of migrant laborers from cities such as economic hubs which was triggered by panic, created by fake news regarding the duration of the lockdown and concerns related to adequate supply of basic necessities, such as food, drinking water, health services, and shelter because many of these migrant laborers were unemployed at that point of time.

Even though the government took steps to address the issues and even platforms started taking actions, however as the issue had become so viral fast, it took quite some time to manage it.  Therefore, it is important for us to learn from these experiences so that we can build strategies to deal with such crises more efficiently.

The Indian Government on its part issued an advisory for social media companies to initiate awareness campaigns on the platform against such false news, take immediate action, disable and remove content on priority, disseminate authentic information related to the coronavirus, and platforms did introduce several measures to reduce the spread of misinformation such as notifying users who engaged with COVID-19 misinformation, restricted, preventing policies of unverified claims or showing resources of who and other unverified agencies relating to the pandemic.

However, looking at the sheer size of the issue there is definitely scope for much more to be done.  Another thing is while the platforms were facing a lot of flak during the pandemic, we also saw a lot of good being done from the platforms.  For example, this was a time when we used these platforms to communicate and stay in touch with our loved ones.  It was used to mobilize resources, help people, including migrants, economically impacted people, and also helped stranded people, so there was social good which happens and this needs to be magnified.

Further, during the infodemic, we also found -- you know, it also highlights the need for media literacy across different communities and sections and age groups.  Governance technology companies have come together and need to work much more collaboratively, especially with grassroot level Civil Society organizations to build digital literacy and media literacy amongst people in a more concerted effort so that they are able to distinguish between authentic and fake news.

Also, while government took steps to demystify the myths and misinformation being spread around COVID-19 through media such as print, television, radio, and even online, we observed another phenomenon which actually worked.  This was the community health workers played a substantial role in clearing the myths in the local languages amongst communities of which were part or economically backward at the ground level.  This combined rule of online and offline campaign or initiatives actually worked pretty well, and perhaps we need to explore this hybrid model more if we want to actually address these issues.

To conclude my initial remarks, what I think needs to be done more to build the trust deficit online is, firstly, connect everyone meaningfully, focus on media literacy, governance and businesses need to be more transparent about their initiatives as the opaqueness around initiatives creates a trust deficit, and while platforms are taking initiatives to curb the spread of misinformation, hate speech within their platforms, they need to be more transparent on the takedown policies, the way their algorithms take decisions, et cetera.

And lastly, we need to look at innovative approaches to rebuild trust over the Internet and it has to be a concerted effort amongst stakeholders, amongst nations so that we can, you know, address the gaps together.  Thank you so much.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Thank you, Amirita.  Just on time.  And, also, you bring very interesting question about platform's role.  And so next we're going to invite Mr. Wang Shu and he will actually talk about those things.  Mr. Wang, you can please share your screen with us.  Thank you.  Can you start, please.  You have to unmute yourself.  Okay.  Yeah.

   >> SHU WANG:  Oh, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.  Oh, you can hear my voice now?

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Yes.  We can hear you.

   >> SHU WANG:  Oh, okay.  Hello, everyone.  I am the Deputy Agent in charge of Weibo, largest China social media platform and we have just more than 500 million and now this is just in the media account in Weibo and today I will share some from us with the time and we know if we use the international meeting, sometimes it will delay, so I could or the main content in the PPT and I give a brief explanation here.

So, during the outbreak and most people worked at home and people had more free time, and actually we know that social media becomes the major resource for coronavirus information, so this is a number of the visits to Weibo is 9 times higher.  Most media accounts responsive 24/7 and had update in no time.  Actually, in Weibo, media accounts have posted 2 million related posts and then about more in China.

So, the social media opens the last mile of the media in the situation.  The last mile means that the media cannot only provide valuable information but also meet the needs of ours.  Okay.  Let's see some examples.

The official account of people daily and personally is Weibo and set up a special topic called Patients Sick Help, and the hospitals or the patients could post the Weibo and the sick have topic to project.  Once was confirmed, the message would be passed on to the local government and available hospital.  So, actually, over 140,000 people have received help with this.  Many people share their experience of getting help on Weibo and some story.  To identify the close contrast of the infected is very important and Weibo original media of our search noticed special column, so they were to push the travel records and the transportation information of the confirmed case, so therefore a close contact may identify the risk of the infection and sign up for medical tests through the fast channel.

So, in the 5G areas live broadcasting is very popular so the media carried out the broadcast of the construction of the Wuhanhuosheenshan Hospital and Leishenshan Hospital with a total of more than 1 billion people watching.  The special product live charity sale for Hubei province and with Weibo campaigned with the media and people 10 million people watched the live and 10 million U.S. dollars of goods.

Another of the media was the rumor.  The rumor comes out from the fear of the unknown and meeting rumors is one of the same importance of beating the virus.  So, we can see in the social media the credible media were granted a special privilege by Weibo to leverage the rumors and therefore the public could know about truth in time.

During the epidemic, we can see the 740,000 posts to dispel rumors were published by credible media and in total with over 6 million forwards.  Also, Weibo increased the number of staff processing rumor complaints by 6 times.  For the messages that could not be -- and we know that in some messages that could not be tested in a short time, so we gather together different opinions to help us to make their own judgment.  Any account that tried to spread rumors or take advantage of the epidemic to increase their sales were banned as punishment.

Okay.  The next idea I would like to share some of our thoughts and questions.  Firstly, about the credible of the UGC.  We know during the special areas and we witnessed very active performance of the user generated contents.  Many of them offered huge first-hand messages from anti-epidemic frontline, but there are still no effective procedures or standards to help us to confirm whether it's true.

Secondly, in terms of the balance between the free expression and public security, and we were totally aware that those who suffered from the epidemic growth have the right to express their angers through the social media, and they do have the demand for emotional release.  However, such messages can sometimes hurt other users, so how to deal with this situation?  We just need some standard.

Lastly, about the privacy right protection.  As we try to help more people during this special time and some personal information was revealed, such as travel records, living place, or family information that's made possible during travel, so technical solution is required.  And this is the end of my speech.  Thank you for listening.  Thank you.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Thank you very much, Mr. Wang Shu, and actually here are some interesting questions about with how to, you know, monitor or regulate performance well, and I think this question will be also touched by other our speakers following speakers like Professor Ang and others who will also talk about the platform as well, so hopefully we will have some discussion, you know, for following these issues.

So next can I invite Elinor Carmi from the University of Liverpool to share her presentation on the audience side of how to use -- or how to empower audience and public during pandemic crisis.  Thank you.  Elinor?

   >> ELINOR CARMI:  Hi, everybody.  I just want to share my screen, and I'm really happy that I already saw -- can you see my screen now?

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Yes, we can see you clear.

   >> ELINOR CARMI:  Fantastic.  So, I saw that people are already talking about media literacies, digital literacies, and I'm really excited that the discover is on that because that's exactly what I'm working on.  I'm Elinor Carmi, a post-doc at Liverpool University.  Working on projects around big data.  Developing UK citizens in literacies, me and My Big Data.  It's sponsored with Glasgow and Sheffield Hallam and the other one is Being Alone Together Developing Fake News Immunity funded by the UK Research and Innovation and Liverpool University and Dundee University and so I'm going to talk about some of the initial findings that we already have and I'd love to hear your questions at the end.

So, it's really great that I saw people are discussing the kind of different definitions and differences between digital literacies and media literacies, and we have, actually, an article which is open access and I'm going to share it later in the forum where you can see how we analyze the literature of all of these things and how we wanted to propose a new kind of data literacy framework because we felt there were a lot of things missing.

So, in our model, we focus on three main dimensions.  The main ones are, the three ones are data doing, data thinking, and data participating.  So, data doing, we're thinking about the everyday kind of actions that we're doing.  Data think something the critical thinking that people need to have, and I'm going to show you the kind of activities that we were talking about.

And then we're talking about data participating, which basically means how can people use data to their own benefits in their communities.

So, when we're talking about data doing, we're talking about accessing information, assessing, interpreting, creating, citing, and things like that.  When we're thinking about data thinking, and this is something that is very crucial to us because one of the main things that we want to emphasize is the need for people to have critical thinking, which means being aware of different data protection rights, being aware of different kind of privacy settings and what they actually mean.  If you live in Europe, what does the consent mechanism mean?  What can you actually do with that?

But also, understanding, how online platforms work.  So a lot of different organizations, including in the UK, we have different kind of organizations that show that people don't actually know that companies like Facebook and Google are funded by advertising, and this matters because this basically means that people can have more critical engagement of the platforms and know what is their initial kind of business model and how that shapes what they see online and what kind of data they maybe want or don't want to share online.

So, these are the kind of critical thinking that we're talking about when we talk about data thinking, so it's not only about being aware of data protection and different kind of privacy-related things, but also to understand the online, sort of the broader online ecosystem and how does that work and how it is funded and things like that.

Now, that doesn't mean that you need to be a programmer and know exactly how algorithms work, but you do need to know that algorithms can microtarget you or create different kind of biases and different filter bubbles and those kind of things.

The last one is data participation where we basically talk about how can citizens use data for themselves.  Online hashtags that can be created around a specific topic, and that can be an example, we had an example of our groups of people that wanted to save their local libraries or to motivate people to go online if they were lonely and things like that.

So we identify five different user types, and so in the data we have two main stages, and the first one was a report where we had a national survey, and then we have focus groups which we actually are in the midst of them, so we realize that there are five different types of users, and the way that they differed is according to their socioeconomic status and education.

One of the most interesting things that we discovered is that although there is this myth that, you know, young people are digital natives, what we discovered is that this user type, which uses only social media and maybe some online websites, is that these are young people who come from poor backgrounds and who don't have higher education attainment.  And these are the kind of people that we really want to focus on because we think it's really important not to automatically assume that if you're young then you automatically have all of these skills, and that you know, your background really affects the way that you engage online.

So these are kind of the questions that we got from our surveys, and I think what's really interesting here is that a lot of people don't really -- don't really trust social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as you can see here, the blue represents if you don't trust them, but also you know on the left side, I don't mind sharing my data with companies, but actually most people say that they do care, which means the blue means they don't want to share their data.

Another thing that we see is that, and this is where we talk about critical thinking, so people don't really connect between the right side, which means that you know, people don't want to be tracked -- or that their behavior would be tracked over time, but then they don't really connect that this tracking leads to the personalization of their experience, so these are the kind of things that we think need to be further developed.

Another thing that we thought is really interesting is that most people don't think that companies provide services that make it easy for people to change their privacy settings, and a lot of people think that there is actually no point to change their privacy settings because these companies, you know, disregard this anyway.

So, that was from our survey, and then when we talked about people and we've talked with people throughout October and we're going to talk with them also in November.  One of the interesting things that we found is that people's trust in social media or media in general depends on the kind of activities that they're doing.

So, one of the main things that we discovered, for example, is that when people want to verify information, some people mention that they're going to check it on BBC and different kind of things, but a lot of people actually talk with their family or their friends.

Another really important thing is that as you saw, most people that we talked with, both in the survey but also in the focus groups, they don't really trust social media but they don't feel that they have a choice to go on social media, so this is something that we really want to emphasize that trust is contingent and fluid with people but not the only factor and really depends on the kind of activities that you're doing.

Another thing that was really interesting for us is when people want to learn new digital skills, most people mention they use different kind of friends or the expert family member, but also a lot of people mention that they're going on YouTube to find different kind of videos to help them understand that better.

So one of our sort of main findings is that unlike the past where a will the of kind of frameworks around media literacy and digital literacy was focused on the individual, we want to focus on the networks of literacies because what we discovered is that actually people rely on other people that they trust, which means their friends, families, could be the experts, you know, colleagues that they know, and we really want to emphasize that this is where the kind of interventions that companies or governments or education institutions should focus on.

So, networks of literacies are the ways that people engage with other people, it's where they -- I'm sorry, it's where they engage with them to gain different kind of understanding, skills, and competencies.

So another thing that's really important for us to emphasize is that there is no one, you know, no one program that fits everybody, and this is why it was really important for us to focus on different kinds of user types because in the end of our -- in the end of our project, we're also going to create different kinds of education material and programs for different kinds of people, in a way that makes sense to them and in their context and everyday life experiences.

So, that was very brief but mainly the Big Data Project and the other project we're working on which is developing this kind of chatbot where people can understand better how to understand the kind of rhetorical tools that the different kind of people, could be politicians, could be news media sites, to help people understand which kind of rhetorical manipulations that they're doing and to play with it with the chatbot.

With the chatbot as well we're encouraging people to play together and to talk about how they learn together, what kind of things they can understand better or not.  Now, of course, a chatbot is not a miracle solution to these things, but what we really want to emphasize is, again, this kind of working together on different kinds of critical understandings, and because we believe that this is where the power is sort of the empowering people lies.

So, I think I am on time, and again if you have any kind of questions for me, I'm very happy to answer them in the end, and I'm going to post our article which is open access on the chat now.  Thank you, everybody.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Thank you, Elinor.  And that was a very, actually very interesting we all discuss about digital divide with also including of the skills of the digital literacies.

And so, we pass the time to our next speaker, Professor Ang from Technology University in Singapore and his presentation is also a little bit related to the media literacy and digital literacy and audience receptions.  Welcome, Professor Ang, please.

   >> ANG PENG HWA:  Good evening.  I hope you guys can see this.  Okay.  So, I'm talking about privacy and trying to understand how privacy connects, given this current situation, and I'm talking particular about contract-tracing app in Singapore and probably write some reports to say that it is the most successful, so kind of the inside story about that.

I'm using full-screen display because I have some issues and I want to see you all so I'm putting in this mode.  Okay.  So, this app is developed by a unit in the Singapore government called Govtech and they use Bluetooth technology and done some things with the Bluetooth and so this technology will actually be able to tell based on strength of signals how close you are to the next Bluetooth device, so the strength of the signal is also involved.

And they used privacy principles from the very start, and so really incorporating privacy by design.  Collected minimum information and just the phone, contact details, and that was it.  But people avoided it, so it's kind of interesting to see, you know, why and so forth.

So, the question that came up was, you know, do people really understand privacy?  So here we're talking about privacy, and actually what I'm going to present is that people don't really understand privacy.

So, to tell you more about this app, this is new logo TraceTogether and its voluntary installation, no required installation.  Minimum information, no location data, no GPS data at all, and the data is stored in the in centralized government database but on your phone, and it will be deleted after 21 to 28 days if not useful and can tell you how close you were to somebody carrying phone and person was infected based on the strength of the signal as well.  Right.

And then give information to database and then contact other people that may have been infected, right.  That's kind of the principle behind it.

Many governments asked about it because it incorporated privacy-by-design and even quote "inspired" apple and Google together which is pretty big deal, basically copying, basically, we know how, right.  And to have Apple and Google together from opposite, one totally exploiting privacy and one selling privacy as a reason for buying products and services, right, so it's come together was a pretty major deal.

There are some downsides, drained the battery, version 1.0, so falling asleep, and two-third of power was gone and second version, 20% of power was gone.  And my friends told me if you go to use and carrying it aren't it pings so you actually lose more power so it does drain the power a little bit.  I told the government had some success stories but seems to be no success story, I don't really know.  You hear some success stories.

They talked about 25,000 contacts using it, but actual number of cases of people infected with that people is very, very low.  I mean, talking not even single digit percent, right, so very, very low, you know, in terms of that.  This would be why they didn't kind of publicize the contact details, so this is actually very high sort of false alarms here.

So when app came out petitions against it, two petitions and recent toke than came out so all together three petitions talking about contact tracing devices, and interesting the petitions the other way around from India and Italy saying that you guys should get a Singapore app, you know, because you know you could use it, kind of interesting how this happens.

So, the last time I checked, a total of 480 petitions globally speaking against contract tracing, but if you look through the log, 480 petitions mostly against contract-tracing.  All right.  I wrote an op Ed to talk about why people misunderstanding it light of the petitions in Singapore, and I want to carry on with what I'm presenting, in the Singapore case we have a very high trust environment, so if you look at the chart based on the Trust Index, the barometer, and Singapore ranks high in the trust area, right.  Other governments, the media based on the index ranks relatively low.  You can see that we operate in a high trust environment.  Nevertheless, right, we have a relatively low, you know, download rate.  There is an Oxford computer model saying you need 56% and again this is also misunderstanding here and again there is if you have 50%, you know, having that it would be like 25%, right, 25% based on how this thing works.

So, 56% of people downloading the app in the country is enough for the country to be sort of covered.  I mean, it's different thing, but so 40% is not quite there, and so but every percentage -- so every person downloading contributes to this coverage, and globally around 20%, right.  So, you can see actually pretty low from the 56%.

So, my point is that people don't understand privacy, even when their lives are at stake, right.  I mean, tell me now if I tell you that if you give me a bit of details about you, I can contact you earlier to tell you whether you've been infected or not, and people are saying no, I want my privacy, right.  So, the thing is sort of give me privacy, nevermind give me this.  Right.  Totally private, right, but that's not all.  Okay.  We have distributed a token now so to make it -- so this is like if you don't carry phone you need to carry this phone.  My friend, and I just met for lunch day before asking him about this, and why are you having this token, and he says so he can leave it around so he doesn't always have to carry around, so whereas phone you have to always carry, so people can trace you.  I told you how will you know you infected, but it's different, so I don't quite understand.

So, the local people ran these big stories about what does this token contain, you know, showing you the Bluetooth antenna, the memory, so forth, the battery, and then the government come out and say if you tamper with this, it's illegal and committing a crime.  Right.  So, people are collecting these devices, tampering with it so they cannot do what it's supposed to do.  Right.

So, people are snapping this up because they're supposed to -- it's more convenient than phone, doesn't drain battery, if you move it around it does brain because pinging, if you leave passive at home, you wouldn't be talking, so wouldn't drain battery, so people are picking it up.  We suggest an almost of sort of convenience here.

So, my conclusion now and being academic, I always end with questions.  We academics, we end with questions, right.  So, the conclusion is that does convenience trumps privacy?  Or convenience trumps death even?  Or people don't understand what should trump, right?  So, my question is your call, what is really, really important in this situation?  Is it privacy?  Is it convenience?  Is it so that my phone battery will not die?  Maybe it's living, right?  Okay.  That's it.  Thank you.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Thank you very much.  That's very interesting presentation from Professor Ang, and we probably can leave Professor Ang's questions to later and invite other speakers to reflect on it.

So, but then let us invite Ansgar Koene first and he will also talk about the algorithms, media and relationship of the platforms.  Okay.

   >> ANSGAR KOENE:  Thank you very much.  Thank you for inviting me to participate in this panel.  So, I've been involved in two main research projects, both collaborations between the universities of Nottingham, Oxford, and Edenborough that have been looking at how do really people understand online platforms that they're engaging with, what are their kinds of concerns regarding these?

So, the first one was the unbiased research project, which was really focusing on how younger people understand their engagement with online services, with social media, search engines, recommended systems and those kind of things.  So the target group there was 13 to 17-year-olds, and this project has been followed by a second project called We Entrust focusing on two user groups, one being young adults, so 18 to around about 30, and then the other is elderly adults, so 65 plus, and maybe trying to understand if there are differences in factors that will make people feel that they can trust the platform that they're engaging with, depending on the kinds of age group.

I will be putting some links regarding the project websites for these into the chat after my talk.  So, one thing that is important from our results that we've gotten from engaging with these stakeholder groups is that many of them feel the kind of information that they're receiving about how social media platforms operate or the content moderation of those don't really address a lot of their underlying concerns.  They're, basically, being presented with instructions like to do this, do that, like if you're getting a message, you should check what is the source of the message.  You should be doing, you know, look whether you can find corroborating messages on other platforms and those kind of things, but what is actually lacking is an actual understanding of what is the basic premise on which these recommended systems operate?  What is the business model of a social media platform, as was mentioned earlier by Elinor, the fact that they don't really understand how does Google or Facebook make money is one of the things that is driving their concerns in not being able to really know how they should gauge their trust in these kind of contents?

For instance, in the current research project, the We Entrust one, when we were talking to the two different user groups, young adults and elderly adults, the interesting difference regarding what they really consider important for deciding whether they're going to trust this particular platform that they're engaging with, is that while the younger adults were really referring to their experience online with the platform, and a lot of that experience was basically around whether it was performing adequately, whether or not, you know, when you put in a request, it actually gave you results that seemed to answer your kind of question.

Whereas, the more older user group often referred actually to their understanding of the business or the organization, more did they feel that the organization reflected the kinds of values that they feel are important, and so it was really actually separate from the way in which the technology operates.  They're kind of judgment of whether they would trust this content.

Now, I think one of the important aspects that has been coming out from our thinking, also, around where does this problem with misinformation, disinformation come from, and particularly around the use of social media is also the way in which people actually engage with social media platforms, and really the psychology around critical thinking.  So, one of the things is if you ask somebody, you know, here is a news story, do you believe this or not?  You're triggering them to actually engage with critical thinking around this, and they will often do a proper assessment and will not accept the fake news kind of story.

However, the way in which largely these platforms operate with push notifications, you're not fully engaged with the social media platform and you're just holding your mobile phone, it pushes out a news story, you're seeing it sort of in the corner of your eye and you're not critically engaging with the content, and you may not even be fully reading it, but same as the basic premise behind a lot of advertising.  It's really not so much about reading and engaging with the story, but it's about just having the headline appearing frequently.

Basic psychology of humans is if you have seen something frequently, it makes it more likely that it is true, and so if you just keep hearing somewhere in the corner of your eye, 5G is related somehow to COVID, you know, if you were to critically really read it and critically engage with it, you would immediately dismiss it.  But you just are always seeing this, and in a sense, it becomes an underlying thought.

So, one of the issues really is around this model of the way in which information is being pushed out to people who are not critically engaging with the process, and they weren't actually in a mode of saying I want to be engaged and looking for news at this point in time.

Another aspect that I would like emphasize and actually connects to this example that was actually listed in the Q&A around, for instance, is 5G connected to COVID, a lot of the misinformation campaigns that we're seeing related to COVID are actually building on longstanding misinformation campaigns that have been out there.  Stories about that mobile phone transmission would somehow be leading to diseases, previously a lot of the links that were being proposed in these, in this fake news was around things like does mobile phone transmissions cause Autism or those kind of things, and it's just basically building on those existing narratives and slightly shifting them over to say well at this moment the health condition that everybody is concerned about is COVID, so we'll just tweak the story and say that it's not Autism but it is COVID that we're going to link it to.  And we see a similar thing with the anti-vax movement, for instance, which has been co-oped into the whole Qanan kind of narrative so a lot of the information that we're seeing relating to the COVID condition are basically building on an underlying kind of narrative or misinformation that has been going on.

And just to connect to one of the other questions that came up in the Q&A, which was around why have certain governments engaged differently with the COVID situation than others, there we also actually see that has been building on a prior narrative of how these governments engage with experts, engage with the scientific community.

In the UK, for instance, there was already an ongoing narrative of criticizing experts and researchers in various fields, which was used in the runup to Brexit and those kind of political domains, and that kind of built a sense of disconnect between health experts and the kind of engagement that was being built in the narrative, and so that is again a case that it hasn't come up from nowhere within the COVID situation, but it's really building on an ongoing narrative of misinformation that was already present.  Thank you very much.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Thank you very much, Ansgar.  I think that's a very good kind of conclusion of all of those issues we have discussed so far, so before we open to the floor and to the questions, I would just like or ask all the speakers probably can share on two questions that I think we have discussed so far.

So, first of all, I would like to ask everyone whether you can share or trust that whether people in your locality and model of the social media whether they have a trust of the social media?  I think we have people from different societies, so probably it's interesting to know that the knowledge of the local peoples, they have knowledge in terms of the social media and their functions.  So, can we start with Professor Long?  Can you say something about Chinese situation?  The role of the social media and the peoples' understanding of the business model and, you know, how do they work in the pandemic situation and also, yeah?  You have to unmute yourself.

   >> YUN LONG:  Can you hear me?

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  We can.  Please.

   >> YUN LONG:  Yeah.  I think in China there is an epidemic that broke in the beginning of this year and the investigation shows that in social media, maybe more credibility -- the official, media, because but some difference between Wuhan and other big cities, the difference is in Wuhan the citizen is a lot of trust of social media, but in other cities, it's especially the young people pay more attention on social media, and they understand and trust the social media as official media.  Yeah.  This is the case in China.

So, I think maybe other issues, you know, in other countries are not the same, but internally it's very special and after the period, the official media and more is more powerful and the people have more trust to the official media after the maybe after January and February.  Yeah.  This is the situation in China.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  That's interesting.  And Mr. Wang Shu because you have Weibo, do you agree that the social media like Weibo has more trust than social media because you also mentioned that do not know how to moderate some of the hate speech and contents but that is surprising because even without doing the -- even not in the pandemic time, you should have some rules to follow to moderate the content, is that right?  (no English translation).  I just did a translation for him.

   >> SHU WANG:  Okay.  No problem.  So just as I answer some questions for the moment as social media platform and Weibo or not to take define and use as rumors, and we are not too judgment for these things, actually.  We give the right to the government and from the medias, and we know that the media in China just has some different background.  It's a different -- it's a different situation just than the other countries because most of the media, in China and they have the government background, so we can trust for this, and because they have very strict rules and just some strict processes and to post the information, so the people in China always trust the media.  And sometimes, if we just want to post some important information, just for example it's about how it coronavirus and how to defend the coronavirus, and maybe some cities in there is in how to use the right medical here for there -- for them and we always to let just beg the media to post this information to the public.  Yes, it should be -- and this is true and the people always trust and we use this channel.  Okay.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Thank you, Mr. Wang.  Any other speakers or panelists, can you share some of your country's situation, like in India whether people trust more social media than traditional media?

   >> AMIRITA CHOUDHURY:  Okay.  So, if I look at the Indian perspective, it is mixed.  As in, there is a section of the people who are the new users of social media or instant messaging and they believe whatever comes to them, especially in instant messaging because it comes from someone whom they know.  So they kind of relate to it, and I kind of agree to Elinor in when she says that people like to believe what aligns to their thought process, so there is a section of people who believe it, and however we did speak to a lot of young students late last year and we found that they do not believe everything which is online.  However, they do not have any alternate to get information because they do not read traditional newspapers, and neither do they like to spend much time looking at television.

There is a section of educated people who are now getting aware of, you know, what they're doing online, whether it is harming them, whether it is beneficial, how the companies are monetizing this information, and everything which they are getting for free.  But by and large, people still believe the information they are getting and that is why misinformation is also flourishing and being spread across because most people believe what comes.  If someone says, okay, you have this and it will help to you prevent coronavirus, they find it the easier way to use this rather than looking at something else.  So that is why education, capacity building on how to manage the kind of information which comes is important.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Yeah.  And Singapore, I think Singapore people also have more trust than social media.

   >> ANG PENG HWA:  Nobody says I believe in social media.  Right.  They smart, when it comes, they believe in social media.  I believe in God, but I'm let me cheat on this side, so I believe in God but I'm going to cheat.  So, this juncture between what they say and what they actually do, so we see this.  Yeah.  So, it's also present in Singapore, unfortunately, yeah.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  As element, you know, given people use social media but still more trust like guardians or BBC so do you think this is issue of decline of mainstream media or trust in media in your country if they have more trustable source like BBC or Guardian, and they may not rely on that and rely on social media?

   >> ELINOR CARMI:  Are you asking me?

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Everyone, just if you have any idea you can jump in here.

   >> ELINOR CARMI:  I do have to say that actually from our focus groups, what we discovered is that a lot of people, so I think social media as a whole is a wrong way to look at it.  So for example, in our focus groups, most people thought that Google Search and YouTube are trustworthy to look for information, and this is where our data thinking is really crucial I think because people don't understand the kind of information that Google presents to you both on YouTube and on Google Search is very skewed and it depends on a lot of factors.

And I think like Amirita said, a lot of people don't feel that especially young people are not exposed to other kinds of more traditional media, and however a lot of news from some more traditional media is then shared through different kind of means, so we discovered that WhatsApp is at least in the UK the most common way to share information and news between people.

So, I think that when we're talking about social media as a whole, we need to distinguish between different kinds of social media, and I'm guessing that in Asia we will see different kinds of patterns.  And I think that it's quite important, as I said, to have people, to have these kind of critical tools to be able to identify how these companies have power to shape which kind of information reaches them and what to do about it.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Thank you very much.  And, yeah.

   >> SHU WANG:  Hi.  Okay.  So, I would like to add a point if it's okay.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Yes.  Please do, go ahead.

   >> SHU WANG:  Okay.  Okay.  I just want to add some more points in.  Just I say that just on in China, the media and the media in the social media platform and where to get more the credibility.  I just want to say that the media can also make some mistakes, we can see mistake.  But they often apologize to the public on social media when the media makes a mistake, and which is timely and very truly, so just that sometimes the mistake is a want to factor their credibility, so it's truth.  Okay.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Thank you.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Ansgar wants to say something.

   >> ANSGAR KOENE:  I just want to build on what Shu just said.  Unfortunately, we have also been seeing that the so-called traditional media have been copy and pasting stories from the social media with very little background checks at times, in part this has to do with the high levels of competition in that space, the reduction in funding for journalism, and the sort of need to get the story out there as quickly as possible so that you won't be scooped by somebody else, and then they don't take the time to do the fact checking themselves.  So, they push out the story basically picked up from social media and afterwards they may or may not do fact checking and may or may not publish an apology.  Obviously, it depends on which particular media we're talking about.  This tends to happen more with so-called Tabloid kind of media but a lot of people read those kind of media as their main source of news as well.

So, unfortunately, it is not necessarily the case that the traditional media are that much more trustworthy in this kind of high-competitive environment.

>> KUO WU:  Can I join in?  I think basically the social media, I think the term of the name of social media is kind of misleading.  I think you are in the study in the media, so you know that, you know, social media is actually not a media.  It's just a chat for the people to just, you know, without a checking -- without editing and they can publish whatever they want to say on the chat wall.  You know.

I think the social media term is a little bit misleading, basically, from my point of view.  You can take it easy, you know, it can laugh and take out humor and you can share some of your information, but if you really like to take it serious about anything published in the social media, that basically is quite wrong, and I think we should educate young people to understand social media is not a media.  Media, basically, has a code of conduct.  The media has a certain process to publish their information, and social media without such a process.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Any feedback?  I'm sorry.

   >> ANSGAR KOENE:  I would say, I agree with Kuo that a lot of sort of content that can be thrown up on social media is more or less stream of consciousness thinking as something came to my mind and I'll throw it up there.

However, if we're thinking about the way in which people are actually engaging with social media, they're not just using it, especially for if we're thinking about something like a social media platform, like Facebook for instance, you're not just using it to engage with the messages that are coming from other users.  These platforms have also become a conduit for traditional media to communicate their information to people, and I mean Facebook has been building that as part of their business model, they've been pushing to try to get -- for them to be the platform that you're on even if you want to read the story from the Guardian, you're supposed to read it through Facebook, and one of the problems is that the way in which the notification of what is the actual source of this information, that does this message come from the Guardian or somewhere else, it's often easy to overlook, to not catch that little notification in the corner or whatever, and that is supposed to tell you what the source is of this information.  Then it becomes blurry, because I was just reading a story from the main news source and then the next thing that came up is actually a story without any kind of source reference to it, but you know I was just in a mode of reading news stories, and these other things got in between and it becomes -- it sort of gets back to the point I was making earlier about how the ability to critically analyze the different news stories.  You know, do I realize what kind of system I'm currently engaging with.

   >> ANG PENG HWA:  Ansgar, I agree.  I think social media and media are all learning and also changing, and but at this moment, at this moment now, it's still too early to say that social media is a media, and the second point -- the second point I would like to mention about it is -- (this is Kuo -- is that I just don't think social media has a right to filter.  You know, who gives them a right to filter whatever they think you are not, you know, not allowed to publish.  So, it's kind of, it's not -- you know, there is a kind of strange.

   >> ELINOR CARMI:  If I can intervene.  I actually disagree with the whole notion of social media are not media.  I think that the way that we define them should be different.  I think that, you know, my glasses are media.  A lot of things are media, and actually platforms, you know, different Facebook and Twitter and these kind of companies want us to think of them as social, but actually they define how socially is conducted in them, and the kind of things you're talking about filtering either with content moderation or algorithmic ordering is editorial decisions that they are making in different parts of the communication channels, and this is the kind of definition is actually very disputed because if they would be actually called media companies, they would have the same regulations that broadcasters have like television and radio and, you know, newspaper, television, radio.  So, I think that this is the reason why these companies don't want to have the kind of tagline of media, but they are definitely a multi-type of media.  We can communicate there, we can share other types of media, so I disagree that it's not media, but I definitely think like you that we definitely need to regulate them and to start to destabilize the huge power that they accumulate in shaping how we understand news, information in our societies.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Thank you.  And Professor Ang, please.

   >> ANG PENG HWA:  Okay.  Thanks.  I'll try to make it quick.  So Kuo, I'll still have dinner with you if you can.  But I'll say you're wrong.  Let me just say upfront.  I just had a test with my students on this point, you know, the impact of social media on journalism.  Right.  So, the example I gave actually in the class was this, right.  So now when these people ask, they don't like search for, you know they like for social media I need a am radio, where can I get a room, and people respond and just social media I need a room, where do I go, and people respond.

Similarly, they were like is this place flooded or not, it is flooded I see news is it flooded or not, so social media people respond.  It's news, it's usable a, news that you can use right away.  So that's the problem.  Blurring of line.  What I call snacking, take a bit of bite of the news.  It's not what you and I would -- I mean, we're about same age, we kind of read in articles and so right, so the way they're reading news is quite different and definite blurring of lines.  I posted medium where you can post anything you want, and obviously anything you want, and in a way, you create your own news and media, right.  So the point is that the social side is coming up and you're taking -- so way, is content part of it, and in particular advertising as well, so they are really competing head on with, so if you want to go to this place and know if it's flooded or safe or if there are good restaurant, who do you turn to?  Normally the media in the past.  But now these guys don't.  They turn to social media and each other, essentially, so in a sense I'm closer to Elinor here and really this is blurring of line, and continuum and not one not this or that, but blurring of lines and now we're all wrestling with how to manage so doesn't give out false information, fake news and make it trustable, this is the kind of information we're wrestling with.  Okay.

   >> KUO WU:  For all of you, just one short comment about it.  I agree with that but just that should we give the same regulation for the social media and the media company?

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Thank you, Kuo.  So, we, yeah, Mr. Wang Shu you are from social media, yeah.

   >> SHU WANG:  Okay.  Yeah.  Okay.  And we always call social media platform, so because in my opinion, I think all the media is social media, so the whole process of the media operation is highly social, so in China in just most of the media must become APP, on our mobile phone, it can be survived, so we don't think this is different between the media or the social media.  It's just only the different between the media and the social media platform.  So we will call it just like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or the Weibo, we say it is social media platform, and just to be a platform and we only to do the more technical cross approach and sometimes we more like post and transmit the information but we don't protect the information, so I think when we talk about the media, and which we need to come from and how is the media the background, so it's a company, UGC, organization, or this is actually government?  So, I think it is persons.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  So, you do not think that the social media, like should go to same regulation as traditional media, is that right?

   >> SHU WANG:  Yes.  It's just a platform.  It just is to transport the information, but do not to protect the information.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Okay.  That's their opinion.  They're not media and only platform.  Okay.  So, great.  Any other opinions from audience, and any other questions you want to?  Yeah.  I got one question from the chat, so one question, his question is the younger generation is generally more source and do you think the generation can consume the interpret from age group creates stronger generation divide across the world?  Anyone want to respond?  Okay.  Amirita, please.

   >> AMIRITA CHOUDHURY:  Though I did mention here that it would not create a generational digital divide, primarily because there may be certain issues where the different age groups may be aligned, and there may be certain issues like in real life, and they may be not aligned so they could not create a generational gap.

When I look at India perspective, between the economically different sections, you know, children who have Internet access readily available, they're more skeptical about what comes on social media and different messaging platforms.  However, new users or people from economically backwards sections or who are new have not had much exposure, and they kind of lap up all the information.

So, I don't think it would be a very great diverse divide, but it would be normally like we currently have in our real lives, where in there is a generational divide but not significantly.  It would be on the thoughts.

   >> ELINOR CARMI:  If I could chime in.  I just want to say that from what we see in our research, actually the divide, the social inequalities come from people who are already excluded, so people who have or come from lower socioeconomic status or also who have lesser opportunities for better education, so I think if we want to strengthen young people as well as older people, we need to first tackle the other social inequalities that we have and that will, you know, bring everybody to similar levels.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Thank you very much for all the comments.  So, we have only a few minutes left, so I just want to each of you give one sentence to conclude your presentation.  What is the kind of policy recommendation you would give to policymaker to improve the trust in the media environment, and in the Internet governance in general?  Yes, please, one sentence.  Thank you.

   >> AMIRITA CHOUDHURY:  Get everyone to the table and not take a top-down decision and really involve communities when decisions are taken, especially when it relates to those communities.

   >> ELINOR CARMI:  I would say provide data literacies to different kind of communities, tailor it according to their needs and according to their everyday life and to focus on the networks of literacy in order to strengthen everybody.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Yep.

   >> KUO WU:  I would say, I would say, yep, education the young as early as possible of what is trusted information.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Professor Long?

   >> YUN LONG:  I would say the government and informative citizens is equally important in these issues.  Can you hear me?

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Yeah.  We can hear you.  Thank you.  Mr. Wang?

   >> SHU WANG:  Okay.  I will say and actually we have to believe in social media because we don't have any other choice.  The whole world is under the influence of the social media, so we must accept this.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Professor Ang?

   >> ANG PENG HWA:  I don't have -- and a statement with you I have a question.  How come people don't understand privacy, you know?  It's so important in their life.  I don't understand this one.

   >> ANSGAR KOENE:  And I would add to this to recognize that close to one-third of users of online media, especially social media are young people below the age of 18 who have recognized extra kinds of needs for protection, and we need to recognize that we cannot expect all of them to do the same level of kind of assessment of quality, so we need to take that into account when thinking about how to craft proper regulations.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Thank you.  And, actually, we've got one last question, and this post here from audience member.  And his question asks whether we should have distinguished regulatory dimension between the social media and traditional media.  Social media intercept -- should we have a different regulatory dimension regarding to the social media and traditional media?

   >> KUO WU:  Well, my point is that the government learns very slow.  You know, so it's not enough time for government to really understand how to regulate in their social media.

   >> YIK CHAN CHIN:  Okay.  Thank you.  Any other response?  Okay, so now probably is right, the regulatory framework come slowly and we'll see what happens next.

Anyway, thank you very much for all the panelists, and participants.  Thank you very much.  We close out our panel here.  Thank you.

 

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