Disinformation on social media isn’t going away — it’s evolving as the 2020 election approaches. A New York University report published today is calling on tech companies to prepare by taking a more active role in removing “provably” false content from their sites.
Such a move would be a major shift for the technology companies who have been hesitant to play the role of arbiters when it comes to policing content on their sites. Companies like Facebook have been investing heavily in fact-checking partnerships with news organizations and new technology aimed at limiting the spread of false information. But the companies don’t automatically remove content from their sites just because it’s provably false, as highlighted earlier this year when Facebook decided to leave up a doctored video that made House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appear drunk.
Paul M. Barrett, the NYU professor who wrote the report, tells me those policies need to change to prepare for escalating disinformation threats ahead of the next election. He says the companies have to do everything they’ve been doing and more to prepare for the ever-changing threat.