談假新聞，或者說資訊症候群（information disorder），無可避免的必須討論人與資訊、資訊與科技、科技與人的關係。科技與社會研究（Science, Technology and Society）最常提到的大概就屬傅柯（Michel Foucault），對於主體性以及知識/權力論述。我們對主體的認識來自資訊，資訊產生則是源自一個現有的權力架構（註2）。Nishant Shah（Center of Internet and Society 共同創辦人，目前是荷蘭ArtEZ藝術大學的學術長）在暑期學校時，以身體作為比喻。自然獲得性別角色者所呈現的表徵，是原生資訊的集合體，而且已經內化而不需要經過思考。就像每天早上起床，決定要穿什麼衣服，通常不需要太多時間。
(Note: This is remark from 1-day symposium at August 21 in Jakarta, Indonesia by Digital Asia Hub, Berkman Klein Center and Chatham House. I participated on behalf of Open Knowledge Taiwan. The symposium adopted Chatham House Rule, so I will only write about what has been discussed in the symposium without specified the speaker unless it is already in public)
The global disinformation landscape
What is disinformation? In Chinese we often use the fakenews (假新聞) or disinformation (不實消息). But the distinction is not very clear. Based on the “Information Disorder” report by Council of Europe, we can find the following definition:
Dis-information. Information that is false and deliberately created to harm a person, social group, organization or country.
Mis-information. Information that is false, but not created with the intention of causing harm.
Mal-information. Information that is based on reality, used to inflict harm on a person, organization or country.
Among them, the satire content receives less attention. But it is potentially a source of misinformation/disinformation, depending on how much the harm will do. Satire, art, comedy and humor are also freedom of expression that may subject to state interference.
Germany’s Network Enforcement Act (Netzdurchsetzunggesetz, or NetzDG) is probably the most widely cited example as a legal approach for fake news. But it has been criticized by both academic and civil society for following reasons:
Difficulty to define the scope “big social media networks”
Take-down within 24 hour if obviously illegal and within 7 days for the rest is a possible violation of freedom of speech guarantees
What remain to be seen are the transboundary cases. Although the offense may be sanctioned even if it is not committed in Germany, no foreign case has been established so far. As mentioned by the speaker, there are some discussion about whether the mutual legal assistance in criminal matters between US and Germany covers the criminal offense on “big social networks.”
Role of Platform
Platforms are based on attention-seeking economy works a bit different from advertising. Thus, platforms have a complex role in fake news as it has some clear economical drives. During the symposium, we found local differences that changes the way platform interact:
Different platforms has different approaches. But like many other occasions, the most discussed platform did not have someone to speak on their behalf in this symposium. In additions, it’s often the case that platform under/overestimating the capacity of user in solving the disinformation. AI is unlikely to solve it either.
Fakenews is like Monster “Hydra” : you chop one head and there will be two grow out immediately.
Most of the participant agree that quality journalism, media diversity and digital literacy can be solution in the long term. Although not mentioning explicitly in the symposium, the problems identified are mostly about trust. There are some questions may be worth thinking about:
What can we learn from other behavior-change campaign? (such as in public health)
After the war is over, what kind of society we would like to have?