Globally Scaling Digital Solutions for Managing Misinformation
There has been a dramatic and alarming rise in the prevalence of so-called “fake news” around the world in the past two years. While the phenomena of both disinformation (deliberately misleading information) and misinformation (incorrect information, usually not intentional) are not new, the degree of damage they can cause in an increasingly digital world is unprecedented.
The newfound attention to disinformation in developed countries has resulted mainly from interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. By then disinformation was already negatively impacting perceptions of refugees arriving in Europe, and it has continued to do so. The Canadian government has begun to recognize the threats to Canada, particularly during future federal elections. These examples highlight the need for well-reasoned, research-based policy recommendations for governments both in Canada and worldwide.
The primary goal of this project is to move the practices and methodologies of disinformation management into new physical and digital realms, to scale these programs into new use cases, and to investigate the impact of new tools and mechanisms to bridge the gap between offline and online efforts to counter misinformation and disinformation.
The project will build upon the experiences and lessons of Una Hakika, an IDRC-supported rumour verification hotline in Kenya and Myanmar that counters misinformation daily through a free mobile phone-based report. Newly developed knowledge and tools will be used as part of a capacity building effort in nine countries that aims to train local partners to implement misinformation/disinformation management programs through digital mentoring, direct cooperation, and expert guidance. Though the contexts of these programs are slightly different based on region, they all address the core issue of misinformation/disinformation as a threat to stable, healthy, well-governed societies and/or as a contributor to violent conflict.