Digital Deceit: Transparency, Privacy and Competition

Digital Deceit II:  A Policy Agenda to Fight Disinformation on the Internet

New America
Digital Deceit:  A Policy Agenda to Fight Disinformation on the Internet
by Dipayan Ghosh and Ben Scott, New America, September 24th, 2018The report develops a framework to address the digital threat to democracy and recommends a set of specific proposals.

The crisis for democracy posed by digital disinformation demands a new social contract for the internet rooted in transparency, privacy and competition. This is the conclusion the authors’ reached through careful study of the problem of digital disinformation and reflection on potential solutions. This study builds off their first report—Digital Deceit—which presents an analysis of how the structure and logic of the tracking-and-targeting data economy undermines the integrity of political communications.  In the intervening months, the situation has only worsened—confirming our earlier hypotheses—and underlined the need for a robust public policy agenda.

Digital media platforms did not cause the fractured and irrational politics that plague modern societies. But the economic logic of digital markets too often serves to compound social division by feeding pre-existing biases, affirming false beliefs, and fragmenting media audiences.  The companies that control this market are among the most powerful and valuable the world has ever seen. We cannot expect them to regulate themselves. As a democratic society, we must intervene to steer the power and promise of technology to benefit the many rather than the few.

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