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The January riots at the US Capitol showed possible damage as millions believe an election was stolen despite no evidence of widespread fraud.
The Electoral Integrity Partnership, a coalition of online information researchers, published this week a comprehensive analysis of the presidential election’s erroneous report and suggested ways to avoid it. repeat.
Internet companies not only blamed the fictions of a stolen election, but the report concluded that they are at the center where false stories are incubated, strengthened, and reinforced. I’ll summarize here three compelling recommendations from the report on how companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter can change to help create a healthier environment of election information and everything else.
One thing in common: It can feel as if everyone’s standards and behavior online are immutable and inevitable, but they aren’t. Digital life is still relatively new, and what’s good or bad is the result of the deliberate choices made by companies and all of us. We can fix what’s broken. And as another threat against the Capitol this week shows, it’s imperative to get it right.
1) Higher levels for the biggest influencers and repeat offenders: Kim Kardashian can change your mind a lot more. And research on the 2020 election has shown that a relatively small number of organizations and celebrities, including President Donald Trump, have played an overwhelming role in establishing the myth of a fraudulent vote.
Currently, websites like Facebook and YouTube primarily review the content of a post or video, which has detached from the messenger, when determining if it violates their policies. World leaders have more time than the rest of us and other prominent people are sometimes passed when they break corporate principles.
This doesn’t make sense.
If internet companies do nothing else, it will make a big difference if they change the way they treat influencers, who are most responsible for spreading deviations or truths. distort – and tend to do so over and over again.
The EIP researchers propose three changes: creating stricter rules for influencers; prioritizes faster decisions for featured accounts that have broken previous rules; and has escalating consequences for those who regularly disseminate bogus information.
YouTube has long had a “triple warning” system for accounts that repeatedly violate its rules, and Twitter has recently applied versions of it to posts it considers. misleading coronavirus elections or vaccinations.
However, the difficult part is not necessarily policy making. It enforces them in doing so that could cause backlash.
2) Internet companies should tell us what they are doing and why: Major websites like Facebook and Twitter have detailed instructions on what is not allowed – for example, threatening others with violence or selling drugs.
But internet companies often apply their policies inconsistently, and don’t always give a clear reason for people’s posts to be flagged or removed. The EIP report suggests that online companies do more to inform people of their guidelines and share evidence to support why a post violates the rules.
3) Greater visibility and accountability for internet companies’ decisions: News organizations have reported on Facebook’s own research that identifies ways their computer recommendations divert some ideas and make people more polarizing. But Facebook and other internet companies keep such analytics mostly secret.
EIP researchers suggest that internet companies publicly do their research on misinformation and their judgment of their efforts against it. That can increase people’s understanding of how these information systems work.
The report also hints at a change that journalists and researchers have long wanted: ways for outsiders to see posts that have been deleted by internet companies or mislabelled. This will allow accountability for the decisions that internet companies make.
There is no easy fix to build American trust in a shared set of truths, especially when the internet allows a lie to go further and faster than the truth. But the EIP recommendations show we have options and the way forward.
Before we go …
Amazon thrives in New York: My colleagues Matthew Haag and Winnie Hu have written about Amazon opening more warehouses in New York neighborhoods and suburbs for faster deliveries. Relevant On Tech news from 2020: Why Amazon needs more package centers near where people live.
Our house is always watching: Law enforcement officials have increasingly searched for videos from internet-connected doorbell cameras to help solve crime, but The Washington Post writes that cameras are sometimes a risk to them as well. In Florida, a man saw FBI agents come through his home camera and opened fire, killing two.
Square is buying Jay-Z’s music streaming service: That’s right, the company that lets flea market vendors swipe your credit card will own a music streaming company. No, it doesn’t make sense. (Square says it’s finding new ways for musicians to make money.)
A kitty cat did not budge from the roof of a London train for about two and a half hours. This is there are too many silly jokes about cat surfing. (Or maybe ONLY ENJOY SILLY JOBS?)
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