Paris, 27 February 2023 (TDI): The United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), called to regulate digital platforms in the face of online disinformation and hate in a conference; UNESCO’s Internet for Trust Conference.’

The conference brought together 4,300 participants, to discuss regulatory solutions to the ongoing crisis of online information, this was the first-ever global conference on the issue.

The speakers included UNESCO Director-General; Audrey Azoulay, Brazilian President; Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa.

They identified and underlined the need for common global guidelines to improve the reliability of information while protecting human rights.

The aim of the conference was to set and prioritize the measures to stop and restrict the spread of misinformation. The misinformation generated by social media platforms creates various issues.

There is a need to enforce regulations so that technological revolution would not get devoid of its true purpose by considering the importance of human rights, freedom of expression, and democracy. 

Director-General Audrey Azoulay said that UNESCO would develop the first global guidelines for the regulation of social media to improve the reliability of information and promote human rights online. 

The UN Organization would involve all stakeholders: governments, independent regulators, digital companies, academia, and civil society. 

The guidelines would be launched by UNESCO in September 2023. She said, the lies and falsehoods that spread through the internet platforms are tied up with fear, anger, hate, and tribalism, which are lethal. 

Prize-winning journalist, Marie Ressa said that we must adopt and implement effective social media regulations that would save future generations from inheriting misinformation and falsehood. Facts are important in substantiating the truth. 

While the President of Brazil said in the conference that misinformation is dangerous for society as a whole, as he recalled the violent attacks on democratic institutions in January 2023, in Brazil.

He said, the campaign of the attack was prepared earlier on the basis of disinformation, that was cultivated, planned, and dispersed through digital platforms and messaging apps.

The same method could be used to generate acts of violence everywhere in the world that must stop. The Director-General of UNESCO also said that 55 countries are working on the regulatory mechanisms.

She further stated that “If these regulatory initiatives are developed in isolation, with each country working in their own corner, they are doomed to fail.

Information disruption is by definition a global problem, so our reflections must take place at the global scale.”