Disinformation is linked to humanity’s ‘most existential’ threat, according to World Economic Forum panelists

At a panel at the World Economic Forum on January 17, New York Times Chairman Arthur Gregg Saltzberger said that disinformation underlies the “most existential” threats facing humanity. paneltitled ‘The Clear and Present Danger of Disinformation’, was hosted by former CNN anchor Brian Stelter in Davos, Switzerland.

Joined on stage by government officials and other media figures, Sultzberger sought to diagnose and offer solutions to what he sees as the fulcrum of many of the contemporary problems plaguing the world today. “I think it’s basically responsive to all the other challenges we face as a society, especially the most existential ones,” he said.

“Terms like ‘fake news’ and ‘enemy of the people’ were cyclically circulated in society during the most oppressive and dangerous times. You know, Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.” The company continued “What it attacks is trust. When you see trust declining, you know society will start to fall apart.”

Sulzberger drew attention to a new artificial intelligence platform, ChatGPT, an application that can potentially create large amounts of procedurally generated content, as a potential vehicle for disinformation. “I think there will be a huge amount of content being created, none of which has been specifically verified and whose provenance is not particularly clear.”

Ultimately, Sulzberger believes the solution is for the social media giant to prioritize organized content over content created by everyday users.

“I think they [social media platforms] “At some point, we’re going to have to do the unpopular bravery of consistently differentiating and elevating authoritative sources,” he said. I think we have to assume that the environment of is polluted.”

Robby Soave, senior editor at libertarian Reason Magazine, article In response to the Davos panel, it ironically denounced Sultzberger’s call for the promotion of a “credible” press.

“Social media is very bad and will continue to be very bad until the New York Times is given preferential treatment, which is the view of The New York Times and a very popular view at Davos.”

COVID-19 misinformation

Also on stage was U.S. Representative Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts), who echoed Sulzberger’s sentiments and criticized misinformation about COVID-19.

Moulton suggested that certain speech should not be protected. We can’t get them to get the COVID vaccine because of the misinformation out there. That’s where this becomes a bigger concern.”

Soave pointed out the hypocrisy of the MP’s remarks.

“Government health officials, social media content moderators, scientists with liberal consensus, and media organizations have all spread false information about COVID-19,” he wrote on Jan. 18.I made an error, but “Sometimes these are the top pandemic health bureaucrats, Anthony Fauci. neglected We underestimated the threshold of herd immunity by emphasizing the importance of masking. “

Among the panelists was Vera Jourová, Vice President for Values ​​and Transparency in the European Union (EU). He argued that the increase in disinformation came about as a result of leadership failure. Youroba asked for better communication from world leaders.

Czech politicians did not advocate censorship or banning social media accounts accused of spreading false information. Instead, she believes her solution lies in “preventing disinformation people from finding feeding grounds.” Jourová clarified that by “feeding ground” he meant an impressive mass.

The final panelist, Jeanne Bourgault, CEO of Internews, took a stronger stance than her peers, arguing legal liability for big tech platforms.

“Should the platform be held responsible for some of this? It should be,” said Burgoe. “Platforms have a responsibility to keep people safer when it comes to content moderation, and they can do a lot more.”

Advertisers have the power to change the public conversation, the CEO added. She recommended that ad agencies scrutinize the platforms they advertise on to “support democracy.”

All panelists agreed that more needs to be done at the political level to curb disinformation. Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson took notice.

“The conclusion at this year’s World Economic Forum is that those who aren’t at the World Economic Forum have too much free speech,” Carlson said. Said In his opening monologue on January 18, he responded to the WEF’s disinformation panel. “So if you’ve got the impression that the world’s most mundane and self-conscious people are flocking to Switzerland this week, you might be on to something.”

Liam Cosgrove

Liam Cosgrove is a freelance journalist covering business, markets and finance. He holds a BA in Mathematics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.