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Fact or Fiction: What Will It Take To Combat Misinformation and Disinformation in the Digital Age?

There’s no doubt that misinformation, disinformation, and “fake news” played a role in the 2016 election and continue to roil our politics, as well as the ever-shifting media landscape. It’s also clear that an informed citizenry is at the foundation of American democracy. But with the dawn of social media and the ubiquity of digital publishing, being an informed citizen isn’t easy—it requires sorting through streams of poorly sourced commentary and purposefully deceptive news pieces created to sow distrust and undermine our connections with our fellow citizens. Where do we go from here?

Policymakers have called for limits on speech and greater involvement by tech companies in policing online content. Are these steps the answer? Or should we be developing a long-term strategy for educating Americans and honing their media literacy skills? Join New America’s Future Tense, Education Policy Program and Open Technology Institute, in collaboration with the First Amendment Coalition, for a wide-ranging conversation about what it will take to fight against the threats of fraudulent news and information. A casual wine-and-beer reception will follow. 

Panel One: The Threat of “Fake News” and Efforts to Curb It: 


What is the future of free speech when there are increasing calls for government and the private sector to “filter out” or even censor misinformation? How much power should tech companies have to decide who's heard? Is there some role for the government? Or does the burden of sifting fact from fiction fall mostly on news consumers—and, if so, what tools do both they and journalists need in this strange new age? 

Panelists:


David Snyder, @1stamendmnt 
Executive Director, First Amendment Coalition

Dan Gillmor@dangillmor 
Director, News Co/Lab 
Professor of Practice, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University

Kevin Bankston@kevinbankston 
Director, New America’s Open Technology Institute

Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, @ciullalipkin
Executive Director, National Association for Media Literacy Education

Moderator:


Carlos Maza@gaywonk
Correspondent, Vox 

Panel Two: Lasting and Long Term Solution: Education? 


If news consumers (read: our citizenry) need better skills for sorting fact from fiction (and understanding the nuances of both), how exactly are they going to gain those skills? Who is helping them think critically about sources and recognize the signs of credible information? Are today’s schools set up to help the next generation build these skills? Could civics education play a stronger role? 

Panelists:


Aleksander Dardeli, @IREXintl
Senior Vice President, IREX 

An-Me Chung@anmechung 
Senior Fellow, Mozilla Foundation

Alan Page
Government teacher, Oklahoma City Public Schools
Involved with Generation Citizen, @gencitizen

Patricia Hunt
Government teacher, Arlington County Public Schools
Involved with the News Literacy Project, @newslitproject

Moderator: 


Lisa Guernsey@LisaGuernsey 
Deputy Director, Education Policy Program, New America
Director, Learning Technologies Project, New America