Posted on December 22, 2020 FSFP Updates Share: Free Speech For People recently joined a coalition of advocacy organizations in a letter urging the Biden-Harris administration to recognize and treat disinformation as a fundamental threat to our democracy and our ability to make progress on every major issue affecting the security and welfare of our people and our planet. “Your administration faces urgent and unprecedented challenges, from steering us past a deadly pandemic to reversing the decay of our democratic institutions. It’s a daunting to-do list, and our intention is not to add new items. Rather, we encourage you to recognize disinformation as a ubiquitous and foundational impediment to tackling those challenges,” the letter states. The coalition letter also outlines additional proposals that would help the incoming administration lay the groundwork for repairing the current information ecosystem. They include: Appoint a disinformation expert to the COVID-19 task force and empower them to regularly brief the public and coordinate a whole-of-society response to the infodemic. Launch a website modeled on CISA’s “Rumor Control” resource that serves as a hub for real-time debunking of viral disinformation likely to cause harm, and encourage major platforms and/or NGOs to aid in the threat detection process. Establish an interagency task force to study the harms of disinformation across major social media platforms and present formal recommendations within six months. Push Congress to revive the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) as a mechanism to facilitate nonpartisan research and analysis into emerging tech issues, including the impact of social media and online disinformation on democracy. Begin putting online voter suppression on equal footing as offline, including by directing DOJ to address it under the Voting Rights Act. Direct the Department of Education to develop standards for digital and media literacy programming and launch an initiative incentivizing public schools to participate. Immediately begin working with the EU to bolster transatlantic coordination on approaches to key tech policy issues, including disinformation. Elevate the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) – which has a legislative mandate to serve as America’s nexus for countering disinformation that threatens our democracy or allies – including by swiftly appointing a high-profile Special Envoy to lead the GEC and sit on the National Security Council. Pursue and advance the antitrust cases against the major platforms from the FTC and the DOJ Antitrust Division – requesting increased funding for each agency – and the competition policy proposals from the House Antitrust Subcommittee, including the recommendations to (1) restore competition in the digital economy, (2) strengthen the antitrust laws, and (3) reinvigorate antitrust enforcement. Request funding for additional enforcement lawyers at the FEC and encourage stronger coordination between the FEC and other federal agencies, including at DOJ and Treasury to investigate foreign interference, and with the FTC to investigate deceptive practices in the form of election disinformation in digital ads. Launch a White House “Social Media for Social Good” Codeathon in which participants showcase innovative platform tools, algorithmic options, information labels, browser extensions, etc. designed to foster healthier public discourse. Read the full letter here.