Reality 2.0 Newsletter - April 8, 2021: Is Tech Accountable for Disinformation?

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A Quick Plug

Episode 64: Who is Accountable for Disinformation?

Katherine Druckman and Doc Searls talk about responsibility for disinformation, congressional hearings, and the Suez canal.

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"You know, are you actually responsible for something that you may not actually be able to act on? Because, you know, you've absorbed a lot of the way the world works socially and, and people lie all the time and people try to make trouble all the time. And how can you possibly begin to control all of that while simply enabling conversation? How do you do that?"

Last week we revisited disinformation, and this time we tried to assign responsibility. The only conclusion I can say we came to was that assigning it shouldn’t be oversimplified.

Past guest, Evan Greer, sums it up well:

Does a user’s scale of influence affect a web platform’s responsibility to take action? Is there a heightened responsibility to moderate or ban users with massive audiences? What responsibility do platforms have for addressing disinformation bots, especially those perpetuating potentially dangerous disinformation about a public health crisis? Do advertisers have a moral responsibility to withdraw support from outlets that spread intentionally misleading information? There is no doubt that social media provides a fertile environment for rapidly spreading sensationalized and incorrect content, whether or not that content has malicious origin, so at what point can a tech giant no longer play a neutral role? Or do we collectively have it all wrong and need to take a completely hands-off approach, especially with regard to government regulation and inquiry?

We’d love to hear from you on these questions and others we raised this week, and in the meantime, please enjoy the links we’ve gathered below.

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