Lunchtime Seminar: "Disinformation from the regulator’s perspective: the role of algorithms"

Dienstag, 11. Mai 2021 - 12:15 bis 13:00

Speakers: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Judit Bayer, Budapest Business School, Media Law and International Law & Prof. Dr. Bern Holznagel, University of Münster, Institute of Information, Telecommunication and Media Law (ITM) Department of Public Law

Disinformation is changing its face. The foreign and artificial element gets more concealed, and with the involvement of domestic authors, contributors and amplifiers, the manipulative content gradually takes root within the national public discourse of the receiving state. Often, the content is not even factually false, but primarily polarising and manipulative in nature. Often the manipulative or false content is spread by persons of political authority whose right to freedom of expression enjoys even wider scope.

This means, that tackling this social challenge needs an even more complex approach. Besides limiting the spreading of disinformation and manipulation, the improvement of the informational landscape as a whole should be the task. In terms of algorithmic regulation, this leads to setting other expectations from algorithmic performance than maximising viewer engagement. Several goals have been identified by recent literature. First, algorithms could promote a greater diversity of content, helping users to burst their bubbles. Second, algorithms should be set to prioritise content that is tagged as trustworthy – but the tagging mechanism is yet to be elaborated. Moreover, online platforms should ensure that their algorithms do not systematically favour hidden agendas, such as any political, ideological or religious opinion, or give preference to content that is their own or by an affiliated company; and avoid discriminating among users or users’ content based on protected characteristics such as race, gender or political opinion. It is often argued that algorithms cannot be made transparent, because they develop themselves and are adjusted day by day. It might be an ethical question whether algorithms, which influence public opinion, decisions of masses of people, should be as trendy and flexible as possible, or should they be driven more by the goals of stability and security?

The event belongs to the Topical Program (TP) Algorithmization and Social Interaction, which is part of the TP Initiative of the University of Münster and was initiated by a consortium of researchers from the Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, and Faculty of Educational and Social Science at University of Münster. The project is lead by Prof. Dr. Heike Trautmann (SBE, Department of Information Systems).

The event is open to the public and will be streamed via Zoom.

For more information, please visit: www.algorithmization.org