How you can help transform the internet into a place of trust | Claire Wardle

How you can help transform the internet into a place of trust | Claire Wardle

No matter who you are or where you live, I’m guessing that you have
at least one relative that likes to forward those emails. You know the ones I’m talking about — the ones with dubious claims
or conspiracy videos. And you’ve probably
already muted them on Facebook for sharing social posts like this one. It’s an image of a banana with a strange red cross
running through the center. And the text around it is warning people not to eat fruits that look like this, suggesting they’ve been
injected with blood contaminated with the HIV virus. And the social share message
above it simply says, “Please forward to save lives.” Now, fact-checkers have been debunking
this one for years, but it’s one of those rumors
that just won’t die. A zombie rumor. And, of course, it’s entirely false. It might be tempting to laugh
at an example like this, to say, “Well, who would believe this, anyway?” But the reason it’s a zombie rumor is because it taps into people’s
deepest fears about their own safety and that of the people they love. And if you spend as enough time
as I have looking at misinformation, you know that this is just
one example of many that taps into people’s deepest
fears and vulnerabilities. Every day, across the world,
we see scores of new memes on Instagram encouraging parents
not to vaccinate their children. We see new videos on YouTube
explaining that climate change is a hoax. And across all platforms, we see
endless posts designed to demonize others on the basis of their race,
religion or sexuality. Welcome to one of the central
challenges of our time. How can we maintain an internet
with freedom of expression at the core, while also ensuring that the content
that’s being disseminated doesn’t cause irreparable harms
to our democracies, our communities and to our physical and mental well-being? Because we live in the information age, yet the central currency
upon which we all depend — information — is no longer deemed entirely trustworthy and, at times, can appear
downright dangerous. This is thanks in part to the runaway
growth of social sharing platforms that allow us to scroll through, where lies and facts sit side by side, but with none of the traditional
signals of trustworthiness. And goodness — our language around this
is horribly muddled. People are still obsessed
with the phrase “fake news,” despite the fact that
it’s extraordinarily unhelpful and used to describe a number of things
that are actually very different: lies, rumors, hoaxes,
conspiracies, propaganda. And I really wish
we could stop using a phrase that’s been co-opted by politicians
right around the world, from the left and the right, used as a weapon to attack
a free and independent press. (Applause) Because we need our professional
news media now more than ever. And besides, most of this content
doesn’t even masquerade as news. It’s memes, videos, social posts. And most of it is not fake;
it’s misleading. We tend to fixate on what’s true or false. But the biggest concern is actually
the weaponization of context. Because the most effective disinformation has always been that
which has a kernel of truth to it. Let’s take this example
from London, from March 2017, a tweet that circulated widely in the aftermath of a terrorist incident
on Westminster Bridge. This is a genuine image, not fake. The woman who appears in the photograph
was interviewed afterwards, and she explained that
she was utterly traumatized. She was on the phone to a loved one, and she wasn’t looking
at the victim out of respect. But it still was circulated widely
with this Islamophobic framing, with multiple hashtags,
including: #BanIslam. Now, if you worked at Twitter,
what would you do? Would you take that down,
or would you leave it up? My gut reaction, my emotional reaction,
is to take this down. I hate the framing of this image. But freedom of expression
is a human right, and if we start taking down speech
that makes us feel uncomfortable, we’re in trouble. And this might look like a clear-cut case, but, actually, most speech isn’t. These lines are incredibly
difficult to draw. What’s a well-meaning
decision by one person is outright censorship to the next. What we now know is that
this account, Texas Lone Star, was part of a wider Russian
disinformation campaign, one that has since been taken down. Would that change your view? It would mine, because now it’s a case
of a coordinated campaign to sow discord. And for those of you who’d like to think that artificial intelligence
will solve all of our problems, I think we can agree
that we’re a long way away from AI that’s able to make sense
of posts like this. So I’d like to explain
three interlocking issues that make this so complex and then think about some ways
we can consider these challenges. First, we just don’t have
a rational relationship to information, we have an emotional one. It’s just not true that more facts
will make everything OK, because the algorithms that determine
what content we see, well, they’re designed to reward
our emotional responses. And when we’re fearful, oversimplified narratives,
conspiratorial explanations and language that demonizes others
is far more effective. And besides, many of these companies, their business model
is attached to attention, which means these algorithms
will always be skewed towards emotion. Second, most of the speech
I’m talking about here is legal. It would be a different matter if I was talking about
child sexual abuse imagery or content that incites violence. It can be perfectly legal
to post an outright lie. But people keep talking about taking down
“problematic” or “harmful” content, but with no clear definition
of what they mean by that, including Mark Zuckerberg, who recently called for global
regulation to moderate speech. And my concern is that
we’re seeing governments right around the world rolling out hasty policy decisions that might actually trigger
much more serious consequences when it comes to our speech. And even if we could decide
which speech to take up or take down, we’ve never had so much speech. Every second, millions
of pieces of content are uploaded by people
right around the world in different languages, drawing on thousands
of different cultural contexts. We’ve simply never had
effective mechanisms to moderate speech at this scale, whether powered by humans
or by technology. And third, these companies —
Google, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp — they’re part of a wider
information ecosystem. We like to lay all the blame
at their feet, but the truth is, the mass media and elected officials
can also play an equal role in amplifying rumors and conspiracies
when they want to. As can we, when we mindlessly forward
divisive or misleading content without trying. We’re adding to the pollution. I know we’re all looking for an easy fix. But there just isn’t one. Any solution will have to be rolled out
at a massive scale, internet scale, and yes, the platforms,
they’re used to operating at that level. But can and should we allow them
to fix these problems? They’re certainly trying. But most of us would agree that, actually,
we don’t want global corporations to be the guardians of truth
and fairness online. And I also think the platforms
would agree with that. And at the moment,
they’re marking their own homework. They like to tell us that the interventions
they’re rolling out are working, but because they write
their own transparency reports, there’s no way for us to independently
verify what’s actually happening. (Applause) And let’s also be clear
that most of the changes we see only happen after journalists
undertake an investigation and find evidence of bias or content that breaks
their community guidelines. So yes, these companies have to play
a really important role in this process, but they can’t control it. So what about governments? Many people believe
that global regulation is our last hope in terms of cleaning up
our information ecosystem. But what I see are lawmakers
who are struggling to keep up to date with the rapid changes in technology. And worse, they’re working in the dark, because they don’t have access to data to understand what’s happening
on these platforms. And anyway, which governments
would we trust to do this? We need a global response,
not a national one. So the missing link is us. It’s those people who use
these technologies every day. Can we design a new infrastructure
to support quality information? Well, I believe we can, and I’ve got a few ideas about
what we might be able to actually do. So firstly, if we’re serious
about bringing the public into this, can we take some inspiration
from Wikipedia? They’ve shown us what’s possible. Yes, it’s not perfect, but they’ve demonstrated
that with the right structures, with a global outlook
and lots and lots of transparency, you can build something
that will earn the trust of most people. Because we have to find a way
to tap into the collective wisdom and experience of all users. This is particularly the case
for women, people of color and underrepresented groups. Because guess what? They are experts when it comes
to hate and disinformation, because they have been the targets
of these campaigns for so long. And over the years,
they’ve been raising flags, and they haven’t been listened to. This has got to change. So could we build a Wikipedia for trust? Could we find a way that users
can actually provide insights? They could offer insights around
difficult content-moderation decisions. They could provide feedback when platforms decide
they want to roll out new changes. Second, people’s experiences
with the information is personalized. My Facebook news feed
is very different to yours. Your YouTube recommendations
are very different to mine. That makes it impossible for us
to actually examine what information people are seeing. So could we imagine developing some kind of centralized
open repository for anonymized data, with privacy and ethical
concerns built in? Because imagine what we would learn if we built out a global network
of concerned citizens who wanted to donate
their social data to science. Because we actually know very little about the long-term consequences
of hate and disinformation on people’s attitudes and behaviors. And what we do know, most of that has been
carried out in the US, despite the fact that
this is a global problem. We need to work on that, too. And third, can we find a way to connect the dots? No one sector, let alone nonprofit,
start-up or government, is going to solve this. But there are very smart people
right around the world working on these challenges, from newsrooms, civil society,
academia, activist groups. And you can see some of them here. Some are building out indicators
of content credibility. Others are fact-checking, so that false claims, videos and images
can be down-ranked by the platforms. A nonprofit I helped
to found, First Draft, is working with normally competitive
newsrooms around the world to help them build out investigative,
collaborative programs. And Danny Hillis, a software architect, is designing a new system
called The Underlay, which will be a record
of all public statements of fact connected to their sources, so that people and algorithms
can better judge what is credible. And educators around the world
are testing different techniques for finding ways to make people
critical of the content they consume. All of these efforts are wonderful,
but they’re working in silos, and many of them are woefully underfunded. There are also hundreds
of very smart people working inside these companies, but again, these efforts
can feel disjointed, because they’re actually developing
different solutions to the same problems. How can we find a way
to bring people together in one physical location
for days or weeks at a time, so they can actually tackle
these problems together but from their different perspectives? So can we do this? Can we build out a coordinated,
ambitious response, one that matches the scale
and the complexity of the problem? I really think we can. Together, let’s rebuild
our information commons. Thank you. (Applause)

Comments (100)

  1. Epstein didn't commit reverse life.

  2. You start with the ministry of truth and the ministry of thought and then you eliminate Free Speech. Then it'll be a place of trust….

    You guys are useful idiots…

  3. Censoring what people can say only leads to more of what your to trying to prevent.

  4. Lol you say conspiracy = lies. THAT in itself is product of propanganda.
    People of all ranks get behind closed doors and agree how they should collaborate while keeping that information away from the public because the information would upset them. That happens in my company, your company, news media, criminal cartel, presidential elections, governments,… Everywhere all the time. It doesn't make sense to equate conspiracy with lie, doing so will only make one a mindless robot like the speaker here.

  5. The press is not free and independent… I think the speaker broke a guiness record on number of retarded points made in a single sentence! 👍

  6. Lütfen türkçe altyazı ekleyin

  7. Ok boomer, censorship is still censorship no matter what, though I'm am opposed to ideological bubbles. AI(or anything/one for that Matter)should not be allowed to choose what people see, everyone should see the same thing when looking at the same thing.

  8. I'm going to the comment section
    It's gonna be a wild ride…

  9. Wait, let me guess…Censorship right?

  10. Anyone notice the lack of Project Vertitas when it came to the all star line up?


  11. The Ministry of Truth will help our opinions.

  12. TEDSJW is on a fking roll lately with all these destructive, stupid, authoritharian or outright cultist insane ideas.
    By the way, as a muslim myself, I would NOT take it down. You don't get to force """the right context""" on everyone else, as if you know any better. Even if it's part of an agenda, news flash everyone has one, especially you, hypocrite. There should be no controls, period. The best ideas will survive on their own and the bad, toxic ones will die natural, that's the entire point of discourse, and the only way to avoid building a clown world.

  13. IF you are tired off bullshit lies. Turn off your television. So many automatic non think statements being spit out. Sad, so sad.

  14. This is such a dystopian attitude towards the internet. The majority of those who claim to know the "truth" are nothing but fools. The last thing we need is for these so called truths to be pushed down our throats. Keep the internet free and open.

  15. Everyone put their nudes on the internet, google will take care of the rest.

  16. Last time I came to this channel, TED wasn't so authoritarian….

  17. "….traditional signals of trustworthiness…" 🤣🤣🤣. What planet is she living on?

  18. I hope the audience didn`t have to pay to listen to your ramblings. You constantly contradict yourself on freedom of speech, lets face it, even newspaper reporters are not exactly squeaky clean when it come to relaying information, just because you read in the newspaper thereby it must be true ? You didn`t make your point very clear, misinformation is all around us, be it religious,political or even advertising. Are you proposing that the governments should set up yet more costly quangos, to wade through everything on the various media channels.. . ?

  19. Didn’t know Karen had à British accent.

  20. How do you make the internet a place of trust? You kill the people that don't trust you. Sure, she didn't say it. Yet.

  21. It's remarkable how many people in the comments don't seem to have seen the video before commenting..

    Whether you agree with the examples she brought up is irrelevant.. I think we can all agree that misinformation IS a problem on the internet.. And it's not obvious to everyone what's true and false.. And as she says in the video, censorship is not a good solution.. We need a network of trust.. Not trust in that everyone says the truth, but that everyone is willing to help find it..!

    Trust those who are seeking truth, but doubt those who find it..

  22. Who are you? I guess you know everything, sorry about that!

  23. Ah another Karen trying to be smart, progressive

  24. If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes MEMES

  25. Peaceful slavery, or dangerous freedom. I'll take dangerous freedom every time. You can keep your censorship, in fact you can shove it.

  26. If you are pro censorship why are you talking? Follow your own logic first before you expect others to follow it.

  27. The web will never become safe to gullible/ignorant people… NOONE should trust the internet… It is impossible to control who is online without destroying the nature of the web, and thus it is an inherently unsafe technology. And online databases will never be completely safe.

  28. Radical Depopulation Agenda is the bottom line.

  29. Sorry, but I'm pretty sure that mrs Wardle doesn't really understand current internet (tbh nobody really is), internet isn't a tv, it's pretty much impossible to control.
    – articles can't really be verified, a lot of things shared were reported in last minutes, bots aren't that fast
    – knowledge can't really be verified as well, it will bottle our scientific progress, scientists talk about problems online as well, some of new thesis are going to replace known and accepted theories
    – things like memes shouldn't be banned, they are result of creative thinking of people, some of them are harmful to others, most aren't, and how can we judge if given meme is in fact criticizing current situation in some country or is harmful to
    We can't moderate everything and transform people into bots, internet is very vibrant place with many opinions and cultures, some are fighting each other, like antivaxx and everyone else, there are many who likes to laugh at them, but some wants to educate antivaxx why their belief is harmful to whole society, we can't fight antivaxxers with bans, they will still do what they do, just not talk about it on the internet.

    What we really need is to teach young people in school what common sense is, and teach others how to use internet, instead of banning people there is need to educate some and to understand others, ex. black humor isn't something bad, however it can be easily misunderstood.

    PS. Ofc it would be great to change algorithms, because now when you like video about flat earth more of this bs will be suggested to you.

  30. So, her solution would make the official narrative the only narrative. No thank you!

  31. Blah blah blah…we don't need you're thought control.

  32. I'm just here to LMAO at the title of this video! Hahahaha!!!

  33. "….. Fake News……… used as a weapon to attack a free and independent press…."
    Who are you kidding? The US press is neither free, nor independent.
    Both Reagan as well as Bill Clinton made sure that standard was demolished by removing the fairness doctrine, allowing news programs to generate income through ads, and allowing corporate conglomerates to gobble up all the smaller independent news channels.
    Nowadays facts are twisted in the most extreme ways to generate views/clicks and therefor advertisement revenue.Even untruths are broadcast with much fanfare only to have it retracted the next day; If the untruth was spectacular it will have generated many views and therefor much revenue, and almost no-one will read or see the retraction

  34. Well at 3:33 she does not look "traumatised" to me.

  35. The comment section under this one is a shithole.

  36. Solution: Every Internet access requires everyone to take brief daily IQ end EQ exams that analyzes the individual's current state of mind and emotional well being, that can also detect lies. Only allow access of social media to those who are not a threat to society.

  37. No one should hold your hand telling you what to believe or not. If people want to believe the moon landing is fake or the earth is flat… let them. That is their right. Last thing anyone wants is a authoritarian to tell you what is true or not.

  38. When those who are regurgitating the disinformation are only interested in how many hits, and views they can get, we're going to continue with the spread of this social virus. People need to be smarter about what they take on in their brains. Your browser, has become the equivalent of a 1990's email spam folder.

    Real life truth, isn't digital yeses and nos. It's full of analog signals which may or may not have the correct interpretations made about them. I wish more people would work to educate and test themselves, before believing the garbage they read on the internet. Including even this very comment 😉

  39. Very well presented. I dislike having a 3rd party decide what I can and can't see or hear. I believe I am capable of discerning the veracity of what I see and hear.

  40. the internet is safe (:

  41. Unconditional , i hope

  42. they all wanne play the boss… they all know better…

  43. She's a sheep trying to lead the other sheep.

  44. Hands off the internet, SJW turds. Censor yourselves, if you think censorship is a good thing.

  45. I take "White wine mom doesn't understand how the Internet works" for 200, Alex

  46. I agree with your premise, I reject your conclusion.
    Also the title is nonsense. The internet is not, was not, and never should be, a place of 'trust'.
    It just wouldn't be The Internet anymore if it was.

  47. 'The weaponization of context'. Wow, now that's a powerful image. Let me add that I would much rather give my data freely to responsible, just companies than have it stolen from me without my consent. My two cents. Thank you for this.

  48. I really think the entire internet is cancer.

  49. We need our professional news media more than ever now? 😂
    You got to be kidding me. They're not even reporters anymore, they're activists.

    You can fool some people sometimes.

    But you can't fool all the people all the time..

  50. Climate Change is not a hoax? Haha. This woman needs facts.

  51. Ironic that a speech about censorship is on YT.

  52. No speech should be censored. Period

  53. the internet is not a place for "trust".

  54. One look at this woman and all I know is no one should listen to her

  55. She and Ajit Pai must be great friends

  56. Lol "it's not fake… It's MISLEADING"
    As if it's different. Pretty sure both fake news or misleading – either one is worthy of redaction when caught.

  57. We don't need professional News, they are the ones who start the lies, and don't fact check. Just avoid 4chan boomers.

  58. "to attack a free and independent press" – LOL! More like a partisan, corpocratic, propaganda-filled press that's losing the trust of critical thinkers daily.

  59. NEVER! She's drunk, again, folks! Sorry! Lol

  60. Shut uppp no one cares the internet isn’t supposed to be respectful

  61. Little bitchy tyrant

  62. Freedom of expression is a human right….only in the USA

  63. Does she have chest herpes?

  64. Can we support a platform of real information?? Yes it used to be called journalism

  65. If you guys bother to read your comments you’ll see we’re all pretty skeptical

  66. "all lies start in truth" we have to figure out what is what.

  67. Creating trusted sites is like turning water into wine & won't it be pure

  68. I'm curious what she would say about silencing say, CNN. So much of what they put out is verifiably false

  69. This is the best talk I've seen on this subject so far.

    I don't understand the dis/like ratio.

  70. Trust is not the problem with the internet. Misinfornation is. Information from expertise is the only solution

  71. How you can help transform the internet into a place of trust
    shut it down

  72. Why Why why would u ever want to do that, the internet should be open and available to all. anonymity is key

  73. HA HA HA HA HA ! She needs to visit 4Chan. HA HA HA HA HA!

  74. If you are searching for that person
    Who will change your life

    Take a look in the mirror………..

  75. We always work for better tomorrow
    But , when tomorrow comes

    Instead of enjoying, the tomorrow
    We again think of better , tomorrow

  76. Oh please. Satanists are awesome ethical people. And their numbers are tiny. Way to try to smear them with bullshit memes.

  77. 🦋that’s why it so important to look at the internet as a glacier. There’s more to what you see on the surface

  78. I love how she used Wikipedia as an example! Wikipedia seems to have an amazing system of fact-checking. My take is that this woman is simply trying to help us all brainstorm ways to create a World Wide Web that is based on events that have actually taken place and verifiable information, as opposed to people’s opinions. Somehow Wikipedia has managed to find ways to troubleshoot when someone provides erroneous information on their site (eg. “grass is purple” would be taken down super quickly). It seems like a reasonable hypothesis that other sites could have similar troubleshooting methods.

  79. Yet another talk that belongs on TedX. Second one in a row.
    Ted talks are for tangible and real world problems. Whether they biological, astronomical, or just a lack of something needed. Talks like "how to transform X social thing into Y" are like trying to form a tangible pragmatic CONTROLLED realism from something intangible and irrational. You're grasping at ghosts.

  80. Oh please, lady! The whole point of free speech is to allow the opinions of others, even if you don't agree. The largest amount of demonizing of other's differences come from people and organizations like YOU.

    The crowd clapping should be ashamed of themselves for going along with this planted farce.

  81. So the term “fake news” is the problem, and not the fact that the media is covering up a story to protect a powerful pedophile ring? Cool.

    Also, the best way to fight bad ideas is to shine a light on them, not sensor and “protect” people from them. You say you care about freespeech, but this whole y’all is about how to filter out “problematic” internet content

  82. STOP. I am tiered of this. stop trying to make internet in some place with pink pony and all of this shield like Be nice and don't insult anybody. So tell me how a person will understand that he is not right, how he will understand that he is bad person, that his vision of life is piece of… You know.
    With this smart sistem of recommendation in internet that give you content what you want but not the truth. This is why we have a lot of humans that believe that earth is flat and a lot of craft like that and the others.
    And now they wont to make internet in some sort of place where you can not contend. All of this make internet in a giantest propaganda machine.
    Like ones Gebels said, lie that was repeated a lot of times transform in truth.
    Thay give you what you want and now that want to make you unable to contend.
    Stop making internet in fake pink paradise.!
    And yes, sorry for my bad english.

  83. Don't say "people of color". This makes no sense.

  84. The internet will always be a flawed medium because it lets uneducated people present lies as truth. If I use the internet for information, I always check for citation and always doubt the quality of the information no matter what.

    Many people do not do this.

    This is how we got a lying scumbag like Trump as our president.

  85. I already have to make myself watch the rest after you peddled that "fact checking" bullshit. Media shill gtfo. All that you want is called dictatorship, so please, for the sake of humanity, unplug yourself before you demand others be unplugged.

  86. Things are changing, things have already changed.
    What your mirror reflects depends only on when you are looking.
    The Google core 2019 update already happened now what?
    More like now when? Your mirror, the mirror still only reflects what already happened.
    What is allowed and reported as already happened is not precisely the same thing.
    All the political celebrity gossip qualifies as entertainment and distraction,
    from what is actually happening or already did.
    Whatever is reported as news is not new, only the ultimate negative allowed at the moment.

  87. Maybe it will be a place of trust but it won't be a place of truthfulness, honesty, sincerity and genuinity. Well, lies as well, a very healthy amount of natural selection

  88. This speech is articulate and I agree with some of this but you have maidenhall underneath yourself by saying some things

  89. my dog's name is internet. He trusts me

  90. Why is she wearing a black karate outfit?

  91. TED – also hosting ideas NOT worth spreading –again.

  92. Internet is just a medium for any kind of information. Misleading information can be very easy to categorized where it's coming from–common sense. Be wary of the people who uses the internet as a weapon to destroy your integrity. I'm talking about hackers, cyberbullies, stalkers, and people who redirect contents to your internet traffic, are the ones end users should be vigilant. Some of these people might be considered criminals, but some are the very people who works in telecommunications and IT, uses their expertise to gain their own personal motives

  93. Oh stop! And shut up. You are in the conspiracy!!!!!!! Don't decide who I want to listen to. Just stop it

  94. You are demonizing anyone who doesn't think like you

  95. aka: "Only the stuff i like should be allowed"

  96. Humans don't care about facts.

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