“Roughly a decade ago, social media turned everyone into a content creator, giving them the tools to not only say their piece but to amplify it, to grow an audience with little to no budget. Citizen journalists, bloggers, and grassroots activists bypassed the editorial old guard, gaining so much influence that they were elevated to an estate of the realm: The Fifth Estate.
The social networks facilitated and enabled this new guard, simultaneously providing a captive user base, a virality engine infrastructure, no editorial oversight, and fairly limited rules.”
-- Renée DiResta (Wired, March 2018)
We know where things went from here. But despite heightened awareness of the issue, the problem of misinformation online is a thorny one. In the U.S., the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but what happens when terms of service trump how we express ourselves? And in an ecosystem where misinformation (often accompanied by toxic trolling) traverses platforms, who is responsible when the platforms are gamed and abused, pushing false information to its users or worse, threatening their security. Is it the platforms? The government? Users? And is it censorship if a platform changes its algorithms? How much human vs. machine intervention (if any) should happen?
Join us at Mozilla’s San Francisco offices on October 1 at noon, when Mozilla Fellow Renée DiResta will host a panel representing technology, media, policy and government perspectives on these and many more questions.