Full Fact launches consultation on the Framework for Information Incidents

18 March 2021 | The Full Fact team

Over the next eight weeks, we’re seeking feedback on a new shared model to fight online misinformation: the Framework for Information Incidents.

The framework is the product of hard-won experience of how certain events such as pandemics, terrorist attacks, political upheaval and natural disasters give rise to predictable patterns of misinformation.

By understanding the way some events trigger conspiracy theories and breakdowns in trust, pre-emptive and proportionate action can be taken to minimise the risks of information incidents, which can threaten lives long after the initial event.

Today we’re publishing the first draft of the framework. Now we want to hear from organisations which tackle misinformation and groups that are affected by misinformation.

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Submit your feedback

 

The pandemic has shown just how quickly emergency events can result in dangerous errors in information

 

As we announced last year, we have been working alongside internet companies, fact checkers and governments to create a simple, coherent product that can be used when future disaster strikes, as a common reference tool for action.

Following the consultation, which is open until 14 May, Full Fact will release an improved version of the framework. So far, the framework includes:

A five-level scheme for assessing the severity of an information incident

Until now, there has been no common system to rank how serious an information incident is. By introducing five levels of severity, the Framework is designed to build a shared understanding of severe incidents, helping to coordinate timely and proportionate responses to crises. 

The levels range from Level 1, which describes 'business as usual', to Level 5 incidents, such as the early stage of the coronavirus pandemic, see high volumes of life-threatening misinformation spread on multiple platforms.

Joint aims for responses to the most common challenges in crises

While every incident is unique, predictable challenges will often emerge for those trying to find and distribute reliable information and/or tackle bad information. It is possible to identify patterns in the chaos. By identifying the most common challenges in advance we can prepare coordinated responses to reduce the harm that bad information can bring.

The Framework asks collaborating organisations to consider shared aims in responding to the challenges posed by an incident, and to ensure that responses are proportional to the level of severity. 

It is likely that organisations will prioritise a shared aim differently. Each organisation has its strengths and specialities as well its own stakeholders with needs and expectations, including and particularly those impacted.

 

Crises cannot be tackled by fact checkers, internet companies or governments alone 

 

Neither governments nor the internet companies have done enough to protect people from false information that has put the public’s health at risk.

By working collaboratively, we aim to improve standards in information among all parties involved, and beyond, to protect lives in future crises.



How can we prepare for the next misinformation crisis?

We will be hosting an online panel discussion on Wednesday 14 April from 5-6pm (BST). If you would like to attend, please email events@fullfact.org


Full Fact fights bad information

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