In recent years, malicious actors have been exploiting the power of online platforms by deliberately spreading disinformation, hate speech and extremist content across social media networks in an attempt to subvert democracy.
These forms of content are ‘toxic’, seeping into newsfeeds with the intent to cloud and manipulate our judgment, increasingly about whom or what to align ourselves with, or even vote for.
In recognition of this threat to democracy, policymakers have been applying pressure on platforms to more effectively moderate content. While platforms have made some strides, they’ve failed to contain the spread, in part due to the sheer scale of the challenge.
The RSA’s ongoing research sets out to expand on an alternative, shared approach to strengthening democracy by mediating the flow of toxic content. We will be convening a wide-ranging group of experts and stakeholders – from civil society, policy makers, journalists and technologists – to come together to explore the key challenges and potential solutions that we as a group can take forward.
For more about this project, read 'upholding democracy in an era of online manipulation'