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tv   Global Questions  BBC News  June 27, 2020 2:30pm-3:01pm BST

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british tourists are set to be allowed to travel to european countries including spain, france and greece without having to quarantine on their return that the motion is carried and they have agreed to nominate deputy michael martin for appointment by the president to be taoiseach. ireland swears in its new prime minister, micheal martin, as the country's two largest parties, fianna fail and fine gael, form a coalition for the first time. a man who stabbed six people yesterday warned he carried out the attack. as texas and florida reimpose virus restrictions, the us infectious disease chief says the nation has a serious problem in its handling of covid—19. india records its highest daily number of new coronavirus cases so far, surging to over half a million. and now on bbc news, audiences from around the world question their leaders on global issues in this edition
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of global questions with zeinab badawi. hello and welcome to london for this edition of global questions with me, zeinab badawi. as coronavirus spread around the world, so too did a wave of misinformation about it. the media platforms, like google, facebook and twitter, are taking a tougher stand on what can be shared online as well as against people who use social media to sow hatred which fuels polarisation in societies and undermined democracies. that's the topic of this global questions — information disorder, who can you trust? well, i'm now inside the bbc‘s headquarters here in central london and, as always,
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to bring you this edition of global questions, we are joined by our two panellists and our audience members who will be posing questions all via video link. so let me tell you who's in the hot seat this week, and you'll want to hear what they say because they are two experts from the digital world and the technology landscape. professor rasmus nielsen is director at the reuters institute for the study ofjournalism at oxford university in england, and he has published extensively on the role of digital technology. and jevon west is director of the centerfor an informed public at the university of washington in the united states. he is co—author of a new book that's just coming out, the art of scepticism in a data—driven world, about how to dismantle misinformation in a world of fake news. welcome to you both and to our audience members whojoin us from all over the world and, of course, to you. and don't forget, you too can join the conversation. it is #bbcglobalquestions. let us go to our first question,
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and we are going to gujarat in india, and fire away. what are the dangers posed by this misinformation in the age of internet? so that's what are the dangers posed by spreading misinformation, gentlemen? 0k, jevin, let's start with you. i think one of the biggest danger is, aside from the issue itself, so misinformation about whether vaccines are dangerous to our body, if we reduce the number of individuals that are willing to take a vaccination, that could slow our ability to get over this crisis, but in addition to the specific piece of misinformation it is also an erosion of trust and all the institutions we depend on, so it is notjust the misinformation about this specific topic but an overall erosion of trust in institutions and those experts that are trying to improve
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the situation. and not only the coronavirus pandemic, but broadly speaking what are the dangers of misinformation in a nutshell? the dangers are life and death, democracy, these are big things! since the question came from india, one of the challenge is there and across the world with apps like whatsapp and others, they have led to mob violence based on. rumours, so to mob violence based on. rumours, so the dangers of misinformation can be life or death. rasmus? i agree. it is about each of us individually, if we are misinformed about something important, we might go ahead and do something that can hurt ourselves all the people we love all out ourselves all the people we love all our communities. more widely, there is also a civic dimension to this, if we are misled, we might not be able to govern ourselves or
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understand what politicians are doing or purporting to do, and we may not be able to hold them to account. there is a civic risk to misinformation. the most consequential forms are largely about either people in the pursuit of power so politicians all people in the pursuit of profits are people trying to make money of misinformation. 0k, let us stay in india and go to south india. what do you want to ask our two panellists, please? my question is, don't you think not thinking critically is the reason for misinformation? and also, don't you think there is a need to anchorage information literacy? 0k, rasmus, let's start with that. how can we be more critical of the information that we read and repost? i think it's really important that people are critical and sceptical but it's also encouraging in our
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research that most people are actually critical and sceptical that people are concerned about what they see on the internet offals and those people have low levels of confidence in the information they see on social media in particular so it's clear some people are vulnerable and all of us are sometimes misled but most people are quite sceptical on the information they come across. 0k, and, rasmus, just very quickly, before i go on tojevin on this, because on social media, we've had lots of people saying, oh, the role of trusted sources is very important. somebody says, "i can't stand all this unchecked information. i only follow reliable outlets. social media and google are fake news and enablers. only traditional outlets can be trusted." and, of course, we hear the bbc, mainstream media, pride ourselves on checking and double checking our facts and so on. so it's good for the likes of us, isn't it? we find in our research trust gap between how much people trust news
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organisations between established news organisation and using information from digital platforms in particular social media and video sharing sites. i would add to it that it's complicated by the fact that it's complicated by the fact that while most people have some media that they trust, many people also have many media they do not trust and even sometimes c is part and parcel of the problem of misinformation so some brands stand out against a very bark —— dark backdrop but there are disagreements about what constitutes reliable and quality news. i agree first with rasmus. a lot of people are almost overly critical and you see that in these declines in trust, a lot of these declines in trust, a lot of these holes and the welcome trust re ce ntly these holes and the welcome trust recently did pulse around trust. but if you pinned me on trying to give a few pointers on how to be more critical, there are basic kinds of things we learn when we are young,
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like who is telling myths, how do they know it, what do they have to gain from it? another question to ask yourself this did you get an emotional reaction when reading the headline? if you get an emotional reaction, there is a good chance that the algorithms or the strategies behind that particular news story is doing exactly what it is supposed to. i'm just checking the source by putting the url in your web browser and putting wiki or wikipedia will take you to some details about that source. there are lots of ways to be a bit more critical nowadays and we need to, for sure. let's go to exeter in england and brian knight. what do you want to ask our two panellists? can social media of the people from the global world the ability to stop the global world the ability to stop
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the spread of misinformation and control their own narratives? are very profound question there. it's a great question. it is a very hard question as well because the way the internet is built at this point, it's hard to control, and though social media platforms and big tech companies have this philosophy that they want it to be unregulated in —— and allow anyone to sweep in and be in control of it. one of the things we could do is put more investment and time into localjournalists. these don't have to be the traditional journalists we see, these don't have to be the traditionaljournalists we see, but one of the ways to control the narrative is to have more people locally, and hyper locally, in charge of information reporting, and thatis charge of information reporting, and that is one thing that people are talking more about right now. we tend to talk about the minuses of the internet and the misinformation and so on but actually access to
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information and the internet is something that is very important and if you look at africa it's improved but only 25% of the population are connected to the internet in africa so connected to the internet in africa so you have to have and have nots digitally and that is not encouraging. if i had digitally and that is not encouraging. ifi had a magic wand one of the first things i would do is put internet in every single home oi’ is put internet in every single home or every person's and in the world. it has brought a lot of problems but still given these problems that would be one of the first things we should do as a society, getting access to information, even if it's not the highest quality. because it ensures that people who are absent and given their own narrative could have a presence there. rasmus, how would you respond to that question? ifi would you respond to that question? if i had to put my money on the table, i would say yes. we see this in part and globally that for me a very simple test of whether a particular kind of media makes people more powerful or less
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powerful is whether authoritarian states are trying to ban or control it and in that sense many authoritarian governments are trying to ban or control social media suggests that they think social media may make people more powerful also in terms of bringing attention toissues also in terms of bringing attention to issues globally. this is notjust an issue in the global south. we see very powerfully in many historically rich and establish countries, for example right now in the united states around the black lives matters protests, it's hard to see how that movement or for that matter to meeting movement would have been able to generate the same level of public visibility and engagement if they solely relied on mainstream media who historically have not paid as much attention to issues of racism and police violence in the united states all for that matter sexual harassment and predators as they arguably should so in that sense several people are pointed out
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they are very real problems with his platforms, some have to be with their business models but they can at the same time empower people to tell their own stories in ways that we re tell their own stories in ways that were not happening before. do you wa nt to were not happening before. do you want to come back to respond to what oui’ want to come back to respond to what our panellists have said?|j want to come back to respond to what our panellists have said? i hear the arguments that have been made but the real answer lies in looking at who is the gamekeeper of this outcome. what you by that? in terms of social media sites which have been known to shadow bounce people, and those social media sites are in charge of distributing the post and making sure it gets seen among small people. let's go to the capital of oman to christine fernandez. far away, what do you want to ask? how can we meaningfully tackle confirmation bias? rasmus, a lot of people have preconceived notions and
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they seek similar views just to validate their own opinions. they seek similar views just to validate their own opinionslj they seek similar views just to validate their own opinions. i think it's true and it's a fundamental fa ct of it's true and it's a fundamental fact of human nature and the way in which we navigate our societies often we seek affirmation of who we are what we think we know. i think we just need to recognise that because for everyone including people who watch the bbc like i do, i too see confirmation in different ways. where it gets problematic as if people are doing it in ways that leave the misinformed or drives them to political extremes that they would not otherwise embrace, and i think in the area it is worth remembering that we do see some tendencies for strong confirmation bias, but it's still a minority phenomenon, and most people what they seek out information to confirm their worldview, not everyone who actively tries to avoid alternative
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points of view, most people have moderately diverse views, they still have different pairs that come with that. we have had people making comments on social media about what is called hate speech, that not only misinformed but polarises society and information fabricated, one person says, in such a way to advance motives, that's a very real danger, do you want to pick that up, jevin, as well as answer christine's question? that is one of the reasons why speech is controlled to some degree and i think that polarisation creates these filtered chambers or echo chambers that people mention more and more in the media, and it's something that we need to talk about because just like computer code human braids have bugs in them, and one of the bugs is we do sometimes
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search for conclusions rather than questions. —— brains. we confirm... we are looking for the stories that we want to know already know so one of the best things to do is do exactly what we're doing now in schools, on bbc programmes, to talk about confirmation bias so it these people are aware of it and do their best to diversify what they are seeing. but it's human nature, and that's hard to overcome. let's go to salzburg, austria. what do you want to ask? i wanted to ask if we need to ask? i wanted to ask if we need to include more space in the public discourse for people who believe in fa ke discourse for people who believe in fake news? so we can confront them rather than ridicule them. that's interesting, so rather than ridicule confront? that's a great question and one! confront? that's a great question and one i have been struggling with in our new centre devoted to this where we go out in the communities,
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both big and small, and talk about these issues. one side to me thinks we should bring them to the table to talk about these issues with them and see if we can reason with them and see if we can reason with them and maybe learn something too. i wouldn't want to say we have it all figured out in the academic world or in the governmental world or in the journalism world. on the other hand, i wonder if that engagement gives them a bigger platform because i do think that a lot of these groups and individuals are still in the minority, and they are using technology to amplify these kinds of ideas, so i want to be careful we do not amplify the engage, and that is a hard line to toe. it's a great question and i wish we have always asked ourselves that question. it is clear that there are some who are just asserting things that are.
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because that is the way they want to gain poweror make because that is the way they want to gain power or make money, but most people are not in bad faith, the world is more ambiguous and complex than that, and if we want to engage with people, each of us individually might think we are misinformed. i agree with the way you frame it, starting out by suggesting people are dumb or evil is rarely constructive for any conversation. i would be defensive if people called me dumb and evil and i would probably not be open to having a free and fair exchange of views and potentially learning something and change my views, so it is important that we recognise there are bad faith actors and some voices who will never change the point of view but assumed that in most cases most people are interested in understanding other points of view and are interested in learning something new and in particular if a view they hold might put themselves and their loved ones at risk and if
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we can do that in a way that does not suggest they are stupid, then we have a good basis for a conversation. has something happened and your experience that has made you ask that question?” and your experience that has made you ask that question? i have just seen how fake news has developed over the last few years and even some presidents use that wave communication, so the question is why does it have such a strong impact on so many people and how can that problem be solved? let us go to shanghai in china tojoey who is actually in relation, but what is your question? —— relation. actually in relation, but what is your question? -- relation. in these troubled times, institutionalised misinformation and even some governments who we are meant to trust are spreading things like fake
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news, how can we protect ourselves from these harsh truths? let's go to you first, rasmus. much of people do not have access to independent sources of information and that makes it hard to understand whether what your government or major politicians are saying is in fact true and the whole truth, if you will, but leaving aside the hundreds of millions of people who do not have that privilege that i enjoy in the uk of having access to independent sources, it is worth recognising that this is the problem that journalism in recognising that this is the problem thatjournalism in particular tries to solve, to say, well, powerful people and institutions have an agenda, they are not necessarily evil all have bad faith but they will be selective about what they say, they might be economical with the truth sometimes and it's the role of independent governments to seek truth and report it and share the n and accessible fashion with
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the n and accessible fashion with the public and it is times like these that remind us how valuable and important the role ofjournalism is in and important the role ofjournalism isina and important the role ofjournalism is in a situation like that, not just a single organisation but different organisations and reporting the story so that people have a chance to make up their own minds. what can you do about governments when they are involved in misinformation? i won't go into the examples but we all kind of know on the accusations fly all over the place. there will be three words, invest injournalism. it's not always possible in some environments, but investing in journalism and investing in education of that information consumer. education of that information consumer. there is a lot of discussion right now about throwing legal infrastructure at the problem, throwing technical infrastructure of the problem, but to me it's making
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the problem, but to me it's making the information consumer as savvy as possible, and that has to start really young but it also has to be thrown and provided for the older generations that are not digital natives. i am a huge advocate of education and investing in journalism. but there's not a lot to do with the government decides it will deny people access to various sites. there's not a lot you can do and that is where the wild wild west of the internet helps. it's a double—edged sword in ways. it is a big problem but the more we provide access to that information across the world as we mentioned in a previous question so far in this discussion that's one of the ways we can get at some of these things. so access to information despite its problems is what we should be after as well. has the your question? yes, i want to thank the panel. i was thinking that this misinformation,
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there are issues about our democracy. thank you, joey, from shanghai in china. let us go to our last question now and it is anastasia from ukraine. my question is, can misinformation be regulated at governmental level without the breaking of basic human rights? i'm very sceptical of that personally. we have a balance to strike between free expression and other human rights that most countries have signed up to, and i think there are good reasons to have legal limits on hicks beach and otherforms good reasons to have legal limits on hicks beach and other forms of criminal speech but when it comes to misinformation i think very often misinformation i think very often misinformation is information that is to stir me an offensive and
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shocking and not necessarily true. —— hate speech. but this is traditionally covered by freedom of expression rules and we really need to be careful as several of you have pointed out your questions because a lot of misinformation concerns politics and governments and there will always be a temptation if we criminalise things that could be misleading, that they will be used by powerful people and institutions to silence the critics, as of course historically has happened, even in democracies, such rules are being used by powerful people. so we need to be very careful and i'm glad to see courts in free societies around the world express great scepticism towards attempts to regulate misinformation in the last couple of days. before you answer that, jeff a related issue about regulation. some
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of the platforms themselves are trying to do things, twitter for insta nce trying to do things, twitter for instance hid one tweet from president trump that it said was a bit misleading and one which was a bit misleading and one which was a bit provocative when he said the looting starts, the shooting starts and so on, so they themselves are taking some responsibilities, so can governments and googles and facebooks step up to this challenge themselves? imes optical. -- i am sceptical. i'm a huge advocate of freedom of expression and freedom of speech and big tech companies are doing their best to show that they can to this regulation and they are doing more so now than they ever have. i commend some of their efforts. there are certain things we should remove, child pornography for example or suicide videos, all sorts of things we should take down. those
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are a lot easier than when it gets to expressions of a policy or other forms that you cannot go through all the variations, but there will be a lot of discussions and countries over the next year especially around things like section 230 a law in the united states that grants immunity to these platforms and whether that holds or doesn't hold, that will give us direction on where we are going, but my overall opinion on this is we have to be very careful about having governments control this because it is a slippery slope. once you start giving them that kind of control, then it can lead to some of control, then it can lead to some of the things that rasmus said, and this is something we all need to engage in right now because the platforms, because of things like gdp are that happened in europe and some of these other laws taking place or at least discussions in the united states happening, we need all
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of society to engage in this topic. you're referring there to the data protection laws in europe. thank you very much for your answer. i also think this line is too narrow between free speech and control of the government. thank you very much indeed. gentlemen, thank you very much indeed to my two panellists and my question is. that's all from this edition of global questions. remember, you can alsojoin in our conversation, you can submit in a question to our panel, just e—mail in global questions. we bring you the trend lines behind the, zeinab badawi, and the rest of the team, until next time, goodbye.
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hello. a very different story this week. no sign of the intense heat returning ina hurry sign of the intense heat returning in a hurry either, more unsettled weather story. this big area of low pressure is in charge of things. it has pulled in the cooler air of the atla ntic has pulled in the cooler air of the atlantic and it has brought most of us atlantic and it has brought most of us rain and through saturday evening, many of us could be caught in the shower, late sunshine to the south of the uk, but heavy showers through the night and more persistent rain for northern ireland, northern england and scotland, particularly western and south—western scotland and a much fresher night. overnight lows ii—i3d in some places. sticking close to
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the 20 mark as we go through the small hours of sunday. on sunday the lowest to the north of the uk and to the south we will escape with a drier day for southern counties of england, the midlands and east anglia. that's not saying it will be entirely dry but fewer showers and more persistent rain will put into mid and north wales and the north—east not faring too badly with the shelter that went from northern ireland and scotland and gusty winds on sunday across the board but particularly notable across the northern half of the uk. a bit tight on sunday afternoon and you can see isolated showers show up to the south of the uk but you can also see that the wet weather is focusing further north in the ring to could add up in scotland to the 20th and 30 millimetre mark and that could even mean localised flooding. just 14 even mean localised flooding. just 11! in glasgow, we were closer to 30
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in the latter part of the weekjust gone. on monday the lowest with us so gone. on monday the lowest with us so rain still swirling around particularly across the northern half of the uk, a breezy picture in general. essentially dry for south wales in southern england and what a difference in temperatures. we are pushing into the high teens at best. and that's our story for the week ahead, things will stay fresher but also unsettled especially to start oi’ also unsettled especially to start or end the week but quieter and drierfor or end the week but quieter and drier for all or end the week but quieter and drierfor all in the middle of or end the week but quieter and drier for all in the middle of the week.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. british tourists are set to be allowed to travel to european countries including spain, france and greece without having to quarantine on their return. the motion is carried and at the dail has agreed to nominate deputy michael martin for appointment by the president to be taoiseach. ireland swears in its new prime minister, micheal martin, as the country's two largest parties, fianna fail and fine gael, form a coalition for the first time. a man who stabbed six people at a hotel in glasgow yesterday warned others he planned to carry out the attack,

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