Royal Society cautions against online censorship of scientific misinformation

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Governments and social media platforms should not only rely on content removal for combatting harmful scientific misinformation online, according to a report today from the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science.

But the Online Information Environment report, created by a working group of leading researchers, including Oxford experts, recommends wide-ranging measures to build resilience to misinformation and a healthy online information environment.

A key member of the working group is Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, who is Chair of the Steering Group of the Institute for Ethics in AI in the Faculty of Philosophy (among many other roles in Oxford). He said: 'The internet has been one of humanity’s greatest innovations. The knowledge and information it supports and disseminates is amongst our greatest resources.'

But he says 'we face a torrent of misinformation on topics great and small. The report reviews the challenges of misinformation and what steps we can take to deal with them. It does not call for content removal as a panacea, rather it recommends a range of measures that governments, tech platforms and academic institutions can implement - recommendations that build resilience to misinformation and promote a healthy online environment.'

You can read more in the report itself and in the Financial Times.


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