Participation in UNESCO Internet for Trust conference

February 21 - February 24, 2023

Prof Weiyu Zhang’s impressions of this conference that was attended by over 1000 attendees.

  • Disinformation and hate speech are killing people. When bullets are flying over your head, there is no time to debate. Actions are needed immediately. The first panel of #IAMCR pre-conference provided wonderful cases.
  • Content moderation is one immediate action being taken now. The European Digital Service Acts was a breakthrough. The UNESCO Guideline is in spirit consistent with DSA – both emphasize the independent third-party regulators.
  • Content moderation is far from addressing the root cause of the problem. The second panel of #IAMCR pre-conference discussed globalization as free trade being the root cause and asked for an alternative imagination of globalization as shared responsibility to the planet.
  • Other than content moderation, there are other regulation measures such as changing business models, shaping social norms, strengthening media literacy. The third and fourth panels of #IAMCR pre-conference were full of such ideas, with Jan Aart Scholte giving us an overview of how humans have tried all these governance models and somehow failed but had to keep trying.
  • Regulations cannot just focus on ad hoc punitive measures but should move to the early stage of designing the technologies. The whistle-blower of Cambridge Analytica, Christopher Wylie, made this great metaphor that if an airplane crashes, why should the onus be on civil society members to prevent them? Designers have responsibilities.
  • Who are the multi-stakeholders – UNESCO has put the conference attendees into these categories: (1) public sector; (2) private sector; (3) civil society; (4) academic and tech communities; and (5) inter-governmental organizations.
  • Other than journalists and civil society organizations, influencers, content moderators, and intermediary companies were invited to the stage. I really hope an open-source speaker could be there and tell us what other options might be.

#internetregulation #contentmoderation #civictech #tech4good #ICT4good #data4good

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