Coronavirus contact tracing apps: a proportionate response? – Robin Mansell

2 05 2020

It seems likely that a decision will be taken soon in the UK to use a smartphone (Bluetooth) based contact tracing app to help stem the COVID-19 pandemic, with a trial reported on 22 April. Used with other measures including scaled-up testing for infection, physical distancing and self-isolation, this is expected to help save lives. Read the rest of this entry »





Why resilience to online disinformation varies between countries – Edda Humprecht

10 04 2020

The massive spread of online disinformation, understood as content intentionally produced to mislead others, has been widely discussed in the context of the UK Brexit referendum and the US general election in 2016. However, in many other countries online disinformation seems to be less prevalent. Read the rest of this entry »





Protecting children online: content regulation, age verification and latest thinking on industry responsibility – Mariya Stoilva

6 02 2020

There has been rising pressure for internet regulation, both within the UK and internationally, and we have witnessed some significant developments, such as the UK government’s Online Harms White Paper, which the new government plans to action, and the publication of the Age appropriate Design Code by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Read the rest of this entry »





After the licence fee: The case for a Universal Media Levy – Tom Chivers

21 01 2020

One month on from the UK’s 2019 general election and it is clear that the BBC is hurtling towards an existential crisis. On top of widespread accusations of news bias and editorial failure, the government is now considering whether to decriminalise non-payment of the television Licence Fee, the public broadcaster’s main source of income. Read the rest of this entry »





Disinfo Wars: a taxonomy of information warfare – Hossein Derakhshan

29 09 2019

In the Information Disorder report for Council of Europe (2017), Claire Wardle and I identified three types of bad-information (mis-, dis-, and malinformation), three phases (creation, (re)production, distribution), and three elements (agent, message, interpreter) to information disorder. Read the rest of this entry »





Bad News: A Psychological ‘vaccine’ against fake news – Sander van der Linden and Jon Rozenbeek

7 09 2019

Journalists, politicians, academics, and governments all agree that the problem of news manipulation needs to be addressed, even if no one seems to be able to agree on what to call it. The terms ‘fake news’, ‘misinformation’, ‘disinformation’, and ‘propaganda’ are all used interchangeably. Read the rest of this entry »





‘Real news’ may be doing more harm than ‘fake news’ – Rodolfo Leyva

24 07 2019

Before reacting to the title, please note the following qualifiers. By “real news”, I’m primarily referring to the political journalism of the Western and mainstream conservative press, though, centrist and ostensibly liberal outlets are also implicated when they use the manipulative reporting techniques discussed below. Read the rest of this entry »





Does UK tech policy show a lack of coordination? – Damian Tambini

13 07 2019

It has been an extraordinarily busy year in UK tech policy. The Furman Review reported on digital competition, recommending changes to competition law and a new regulator to deal with data dominance, competition and consumer welfare. Read the rest of this entry »





The surprising post-election debate around online freedom of expression in Germany – Nora Kroeger

5 06 2019

One week before the EU elections, the German YouTuber Rezo published an almost hour-long video titled “The destruction of the CDU”. In the video, the influencer – who usually posts light-hearted apolitical content such as YouTube challenges – sets out a broad range of arguments why the disregard of scientific evidence and resulting incompetent policy-making by the German parties CDU, SPD (and also far-right AFD) should convince citizens to vote for other parties. Read the rest of this entry »





Germany proposes Europe’s first diversity rules for social media platforms – Natali Helberger, Paddy Leerssen and Max Van Drunen

2 06 2019

Germany continues to spearhead the regulation of social media. Last year the country made headlines with the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (‘network enforcement law’ or ‘NetzDG’), the most ambitious attempt to regulate platform content moderation processes in Europe to date. Now, the German Broadcasting Authority (Rundfunkkomission) has proposed another law targeting social media platforms, though it has has received far less attention than the NetzDG –and far less than it deserves. Read the rest of this entry »