Michael Dugher MP has been asked by Tom Watson, Labour's Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, to lead an inquiry into "fake news"
You can read Tom’s recent article on fake news here.
Labour's inquiry will look at the changing way news is consumed and shared online, and at the practical, political and ethical issues raised by fake news. It will ask if social media platforms could, or should, take steps to ensure users are exposed to a greater diversity of views, and whether they have a responsibility to prevent fabricated content being widely shared. It will explore whether they can make editorial decisions without being accused of political bias, and what role online communities can play in fact-checking news reports.
We want to hear from a wide range of interested parties.
We’re especially interested in responses to the questions below - but please don’t feel you have to answer all of these questions, and if there are other points you wish to make which don’t fall under these headings then please make them.
What is “fake news”?
- What distinctions should we make between “fake news”, “clickbait” and sloppy or inaccurate journalism?
- What are the financial and other incentives in creating “fake news” and how might these be reduced or removed?
The role of social media
- What is the role of social media “gatekeepers” such as Facebook and Twitter in creating so-called “filter bubbles” in which the news material people see all comes from the same political perspective, and in skewing people’s news consumption in the direction of sources which are more partisan and/or less reliable?
- Could social media companies do more to ensure that news material shared on their platforms is reliable, or to make it easier for unreliable material to be flagged as such or removed? Could users be given more power to fact-check and/or raise concerns about fake news?
- Could social media companies do more to ensure that users see more balanced news material, and if so is this desirable?
- What role can/should search engines play in checking the reliability of news-related material and should reliability play a role in prominence in search results?
Pressures on journalism
- How have changes in the way the public consumes news, especially the rise of social media, affected the way news is covered by journalists?
- What impact are declining sales and advertising revenues having on the ability of news organisations to invest in journalism, and on the quality and range of news coverage?
Ethics, values and critical thinking
- What are the values reflected in the editorial and community standards required by social media platforms, and what is the relationship of those standards with the regulatory environment around UK press and broadcast media?
- How can we encourage media consumers to think critically about the reliability of the news sources they read and share? What is the role of education in promoting critical thinking and media literacy, and who can play a part in this?
- What impact, if any, is “fake news” having on political discourse in the UK and elsewhere?
- Does the government have any role to play in addressing the problem of “fake news”?
Please copy and paste your response into the feedback box on this page, or send an email to: email@example.com.