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Platforms and the public square

Report

  • Technology

A taxonomy of misinformation and the misinformed

The scale and effect of misinformation has been steadily growing through the last
decade. Governments, civil society, and platforms themselves have already been attempting to respond to the danger.

This research considers the work done so far and offers a new way of thinking about how we respond: by thinking of misinformation, not as one intractable, homogenous social problem, but by understanding who the spreaders and blockers of misinformation are, and how we best work with them to mitigate or enhance their activities.

We examine the current response to misinformation. We show how global civil society and national regulators have attempted to use the tools at their disposal to take on misinformation crossing national and international boundaries, associations, and groups.

We also polled and segmented the public based on their attitudes and behaviours around misinformation online, this exercise was an attempt to make public good of a practice tech companies have been doing for years: profiling and segmenting their users. For tech companies this is to generate clicks for advertising, whereas we wanted to understand how we promote healthier systems.

From our polling, we identify five ‘tribes’ of information consumer. We share interviews with experts, who help shed further light on the psychological motivations undergirding each of the five tribes.

Finally, we put forward recommendations centred on those five tribes and especially as they pertain to current British legislation around online harms.

Download the report (PDF, 1.2 MB)

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