Tackling misinformation in an open society

2 October 2018 | Cassie Staines, Will Moy

In the eight years we’ve been the UK’s independent factchecking organisation, Full Fact has worked to tackle misinformation in all its forms.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve responded to an external demand to contribute our experience to the ongoing discussions about what, if anything, the government should do about misinformation.

Now we are publishing a report that brings together some of our thinking on a proposed way forward.

In our report, ‘Tackling misinformation in an open society’, we set out some ideas for how we might be able to deal with the real risk misinformation poses to our society in a risk-based and proportionate way.

We look at what the harms of misinformation might be, where the gaps in our knowledge still exist, and what more we should be seeking to learn.  

There are some areas involving the integrity of our democracy where we call for urgent action, including the need to drastically improve the transparency of online political advertising and campaign material.

There are other areas, such as building resilience and trust in our society, where we believe that relatively small changes can yield important results.

We believe that bodies such as the Office for National Statistics and UK Research and Innovation should be given a clear mandate to inform the public.

Finally we argue that any move towards regulating misinformation or the online space should be approached cautiously. Before rushing into anything we need to better understand who the major players are and what principles are at stake.

You can read the summary and full report here.

We’d love to know what you think, so if you have any feedback please drop us a line at team@fullfact.org

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Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.