#privacy: UK news broadcaster teams up with tech giants to fight fake news

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has announced that it is to devote resources towards a new initiative designed to help combat the spread of disinformation online.

The plans will see the creation of an early warning system for election seasons, when the spread of fake news may pose its biggest risks to democracy and wider society. Extra web-based information and more comprehensive access to resources will also be involved in the scheme which tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have had a hand in devising.

The BBC has said such measures are “crucial” in the ongoing war against disinformation, especially in light of the heavy criticism doled out to Silicon Valley’s major companies in recent times over failures to address the proliferation of false news.

There have been multiple scare stories in global media of late, with the potential for elections to be influenced among key subject matter issues. Political elections in India earlier in 2019 highlighted the perils that can come with fake news and how it threatens to undermine democracy.

At a summit earlier this summer, the BBC brought together high-ranking officials from a number of big tech groups and publishing organisations to help study the problem in depth.

Among plans, the group pledged to put together:

  • An early warning system, enabling organisations to raise the alarm with speed at the discovery of disinformation that poses an immediate threat to human life or democratic processes during elections.
  • Media learning, a campaign to supports and promote media education messages.
  • Voter education, creating a uniform approach regarding how and where citizens can vote.
  • Shared learning, increasing the education dynamic with emphasis on high-profile elections.

The BBC’s Director General, Tony Hall, said:

“Disinformation and so-called fake news is a threat to us all. At its worst, it can present a serious threat to democracy and even to people’s lives.

“This summit has shown a determination to take collective action to fight this problem and we have agreed some crucial steps towards this.”

 


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