Continuing the fight against racist disinformation and digital equity, the Disinfo Defense League released a new policy platform demanding Congressional action reigning in Big Tech. Media Justice, Free Press Action, and the New Georgia Project were among the close to three dozen organizations that signed onto a new policy platform Tuesday afternoon.
Acknowledging the disruption of organizing and information distribution, the Disinfo Defense League’s policy platform consists of nine key points. Calls to action in the newly released platform included banning discriminatory algorithms, enhancing data transparency, protecting whistleblowers, and expanding Federal Trade Commission oversight.
“Weaponized narratives targeting our marginalized communities are amplified through the toxic business models of big tech and big media,” Erin Shields, national field organizer of Media Justice, said in a statement. “Online platforms, cable channels and broadcasters alike have all shirked responsibility and accountability for their roles in spreading dangerous, racialized disinformation. Policymakers must examine how the corporate media ecosystem distorts facts and spreads lies — and move swiftly to redress the harms our communities have endured as a result.”
Launched in June 2020, the Disinfo Defense League recognizes the collective threat to communities of color from chaos agents online. The new platform release comes ahead of a Senate committee hearing on disrupting dangerous algorithms Thursday morning. Part of the hearing’s goal is to explore ways to maximize positive online engagement while preventing harm.
“As the real-world harms caused by our social-media ecosystems have reached a fever pitch this year, it is time to move beyond hand-wringing over the problem and for policy leaders to develop thoughtful solutions,” said Nora Benavidez of Free Press Action. “Without a rapid and thorough policy response, the social media platform playbook will continue to cause real-world harms to our communities, including voter suppression, an insufficient public-health response to the pandemic, hate crimes, deadly violence and harassment.”
Benavidez described the Disinfo Defense League’s policy platform as a “launching pad that centers communities of color” in the broader conversation in this policy debate, elevating the need for policies to protect civil and human rights as well as disrupt extractive, discriminatory platform systems.
“Whether it’s the fight to save our democracy or vaccinating Americans against COVID-19, progress depends on voters being able to trust the information they’re receiving,” said Nsé Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project. “If policymakers want to move this country forward, we must defend ourselves from bad actors spreading disinformation or outright lies, and this platform is one of the ways we do it.”