Combating misleading information, hoaxes, half-truths and outright lies is a discouraging business and can feel like a losing battle. However, many

Conference for Truth & Trust Online Logo
Conference for Truth & Trust Online Logo
Conference for Truth & Trust Online 2020

researchers and media experts continue to keep up the fight. This past October a group of technologists, academics, and platform owners got together for the second meeting of the Conference for Truth and Trust Online to discuss the current situation, ways to better understand how and why the phenomenon happens as well as technical innovations to remedy the problem.

The program committee was chaired by Emiliano De Cristofaro (University College London) and Preslav Nakov (Qatar Computing Research Institute, HBKU). Not surprisingly, much of the content and focus of this year’s conference centered on the dangers of false information related to the current COVID-19 crisis and the U.S. presidential election, which took place just three weeks after the event. In times of a crisis, quality information is especially important, but that’s exactly when bad actors spread rumors and misleading claims. Nicole Aitken from Full Fact, a U.K. fact-checking organization, reported that in times of a crisis, people actively look for information trying to understand how their lives might be impacted. She added that the stress of a crisis also means that people are less able to process complex facts, making it harder to discern real information from the noise. …

​ In 1993 The United Nations declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day recognizing that a free press is critical to a healthy, functioning democracy. According to the UN, media freedom and individual access to information is key to empowering people with control over their own lives. It seems the global population mostly believes it as well. The Pew Research Center reports that majorities across Europe, North America, and Latin America increasingly rate freedom of the press as very important. On the other hand, the Pew Center has also been tracking the declining business of US newspapers showing significant reductions in the number of employees, a number that has dropped by half since 2008. …



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