From undermining democracy to inciting genocide, the global dangers of disinformation on social media are now well known. But despite countless calls for better legal regulation or intensified content moderation, the efforts of governments and social media companies to combat this threat have proven either woefully inadequate or dangerous to democratic practice.
The problem is that we have been looking for the solution in the wrong place. Civil society, not governments or social media companies, can best diminish disinformation. But these civil society organizations need equipping, and their tools need sharpening. A powerful, networked disinformation threat should be met with a powerful, networked response. This means more data access, more training, and a more entrepreneurial approach to support groups around the world that are already on the front lines. By providing this support, ideally in a more coordinated fashion, donors and research organizations can help make these groups even more powerful in their response.