PRCA welcomes recommendations to tackle misinformation

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has welcomed the Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies’ tackling the ‘pandemic of misinformation’ on tech giants’ platforms report.

The report outlines a series of recommendations for the Government to action without delay to ensure tech giants are held accountable for the harm done to individuals, wider society, and the democratic processes through misinformation spread on their platforms.

Recommendations include:

– Publish a draft Online Harms Bill now that covers the impact of disinformation. This should give Ofcom the power to hold digital platforms legally responsible for content they recommend to large audiences or that is produced by users with a large following on the platform.
– Regulate political advertising to ensure its brought into line with other advertising in the requirement for truth and accuracy.
– Introduce an independent digital ombudsman for content moderation who will provide a point of appeal for people who have been let down by digital platforms.

PRCA Director General Francis Ingham MPRCA, said:

“The Committee’s recommendations come at a very important time as we’ve seen the impact the spread of misinformation can especially have on people’s health, wellbeing and safety during the pandemic. Our industry holds a unique position to champion accurate and fair information and call out fake news when we see it. PR practitioners have a responsibility to adhere to the highest ethical standards, as laid out by PRCA’s Code of Conduct.”

Founder, Wadds Inc., and Visiting Professor at Newcastle University, Stephen Waddington FPRCA, said:

“The challenge for the Government, and indeed our industry, is to act swiftly and firmly to the spread of misinformation, so to not only hold organisations and people accountable, but to rebuild that trust. We’ve seen social media be a force for good on important societal issues, like the BLM movement, but we’ve also seen big tech companies not show enough duty of care to protect its users.”

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