How State, Local Government Can Fight Disinformation

To combat false narratives and foster trust in reliable information, governments can invest in local news, support empathy-building initiatives, and ensure election processes are traceable.

The Aspen Institute took on the sweeping issue of mis- and disinformationwith the release of an 80-page report that outlines key goals and steps for government and civic society can take to reduce the harm and spread of false claims.

The spread of deliberate or accidental falsehoods undermines society’s ability to effectively tackle problems like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. It’s hard to frame goals or collaborate on solutions without first agreeing to the facts of the problem.

Information disorder is a crisis that exacerbates all other crises, because it prevents us from being able to discuss important issues with facts.

The institute’s Commission on Information Disorder spent six months consulting with experts to take a society-wide look at false information. The effort produced a set of 15 recommendations of short- and long-term actions for government, private firms, civic rights organizations and others. These initiatives are intended to bring greater transparency into social mediaplatforms’ activities; better ensure the public has access to and faith in providers of accurate information, such as libraries and local newspapers; and reduce some of the most serious damages of misinformation, such as that impacting marginalized communities, public health and elections.

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