Young People & Information: It’s Complicated Conference 2022

Professor Karen Elliott, one of the co-investigators for AGENCY attended the conference Young People & Information: It’s Complicated Conference 2022. Held on the 10th and 11th of November 2022, at the Excelsior Hotel in Malta the event centred around challenges linked to disinformation and misinformation.

Organized by the 3CL (Cultural, Communication, and Computing Research Institute), the conference facilitated discussions between young people, media and technology experts and academics to propose solutions to the dissemination of information online. Participants were invited to work with the speakers to develop a draft “manifesto in the making”, targeting policy-makers in the Euro-Med region. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFOM) and the Council of Europe also accepted an invitation to participate in the conference.

Three Major Themes

The conference had three interconnected themes:

Addressing Media Freedoms focused on the role of media outlets and citizen journalism and media trust. Modern platforms offer citizen journalists the reach to broadcast hidden stories worldwide, leading to uncertainty around the level of accountability to which independent journalists should be held. The conference considered what can shape citizen journalism to be a more effective public good.

Combating Disinformation through technology, education, and regulation. Technology offers intricate control over the identities people present online, yet puts user information at stake through the level to which public data is harvested. Education is a key tool against misinformation; critical thinking skills are paramount in placing the public in control of the information they come across.

Understanding Online Behaviour was the third theme of the conference. Anonymity, the same tool which allows social movements to kick off, also makes the internet a space for bullying and shaming. Often, the social internet harms its users, with Cancel Culture standing out as an extreme of the online policing which constrains user behaviour – and in particular, affects the developing personalities of young people.

Karen represented AGENCY as part of theme 2: combating disinformation on the panel discussion “Trust & Technology: Years to build, seconds to break

For further information please visit the 3CL site here.