aunch of G5iO at the webinar “Mapping Disinformation in the Digital Age”*
Islamabad : The Islamabad Policy Research Institute has launched its digital forensic arm “G5 Internet Observatory”. As a digital arm of IPRI, the G5 Internet Observatory will map the digital space, track disinformation including hateful content, and collaborate with global think tanks & social media companies to make social media a safer and more productive platform for engagement.
The launch was done at the sidelines of the webinar “Mapping Disinformation in the Digital Age.” The webinar was an attempt to explore trends of disinformation and discuss the policy making designed to combat it. Speaking on government’s response to disinformation, Dr. Arslan Khalid, Focal Person to Prime Minister on Digital Media, said there are no organized campaigns on social media by the government. He also commented that social media companies are at times biased towards countries such as Pakistan in terms of censorship and projection of certain narratives.
Commenting on how public behaviors and decision-making are affected by disinformation, Emerson T. Brookings, Resident Senior Fellow, Digital Forensic Research Lab, Atlantic Council, noted that social media companies are not discriminatory but rather inherently reactionary. “It is a result of decisions made as these platforms are ultimately businesses” he said.
The panel also discussed whether the legislation or digital literacy is important to curb disinformation. Amber Rahim Shamsi, head of communications at TabadLab, shared that one of the ways to ensure social media rules are being regulated is by engagement with social media companies. She added “A good way to keep check on disinformation by groups would be to strengthen the consequences of liability.” Emerson articulated that it is not government’s role to legislate on specific content and thus right of the victims should be stressed upon.