This position paper includes a model code framework for consideration, including objectives and outcomes to be achieved for the benefit of Australian users of digital platforms.
Digital platforms are a key source of news and information for many Australians. However, Australians remain concerned about the accuracy and trustworthiness of news and information they consume online.
Australians rely upon a range of indicators to assess the quality of their news and information, including the source or outlet of a news piece. On digital platforms, the widespread use of algorithms, the proliferation of sources and the dissociation of content from its source can make it challenging to assess quality and make informed decisions about which news and information to read and trust.
Difficulty in discerning the quality of news and information can lead to the increased spread of harmful misinformation. This includes disinformation—false and misleading information distributed by malicious actors with the intent to cause harm to individual users and the broader community.
This paper uses ‘misinformation’ as an umbrella term to cover all kinds of potentially harmful false, misleading or deceptive information, with deliberate disinformation campaigns considered a subset of misinformation.
The position paper identifies three key objectives to be achieved through the code:
- reduce the impact of harmful misinformation
- empower people to better judge the quality of news and information
- enhance the transparency and accountability of platforms’ practices