The Midterms Are an Opportunity

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Media Outlet: Nieman Journalism Lab

Steve Grove wrote in Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab that the 2018 elections offer a chance to combat disinformation campaigns:

So many of the challenges we face in the world stem from a simple truth: Technological innovation is moving faster than our ability to grapple with its effects on society. That’s as true in the field of journalism as it is for any industry. While misinformation, propaganda, and fake news have been problems for a very long time, the Internet has accelerated these phenomenon by putting publishing tools in everyone’s hands and allowing for viral distribution and laser-like targeting. The very same advancements that allow for free expression of all kinds are also being used by those with bad intentions to sow doubt into the quality of information online.

If it took the events of the 2016 presidential election to expose these challenges to a global audience, then what will happen in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections next year?

I think the 2018 U.S. midterms will be a galvanizing moment to apply new strategies to fight modern misinformation campaigns. The stakes are high — not only for candidates, companies, and news organizations, but for democracy as a whole. If this was the year in which it felt like the world was reeling from the challenges posed by the misinformation ecosystem, then 2018 will be the year it feels like we’re making progress.

Author:

Steve Grove is a fellow in New America's International Security Program. He is the founding director of Google’s News Lab, a global division of the company that partners with media companies and startups to drive innovation in the news industry.