During our first livestream session on Beneficial Media futures post-pandemic misinformation and disinformation were key topics that we chose to anchor our 6/24 panel (you can watch a replay here). Misinformation and disinformation undermine our ability to make sense of the world around us and, in a crisis, challenge our ability to build consensus to respond effectively. What are the roots of these very different issues in media, and what can we do about them?
With a vibrant audience contributing to the conversation from the get-go, our guests Ashley Bryant from A/B Partners, Lisa Kaplan from Alethea Media, and Claire Wardle from First Draft led us on a discussion that started with Claire explaining the essential distinctions between misinformation and disinformation and Ashley bringing us some history on leveraging media to build power in disempowered communities. We explored why these issues felt so much more impactful now and who should be responsible for solving them, specifically in the context of the TikTok spoof of President Trump’s campaign rally and the burgeoning Facebook and Instagram advertising boycott. Lisa invited us to think about where responsible interface design might overlap with regulation and commercial pressure. In the end, we found some optimistic ground about what could be possible in a Beneficial Media future — even in a moment where these challenges felt existential.
Next Wednesday, August 12th at 2 pm ET, we’ll be co-hosting our next conversation with A/B Partners to release some new research on media consumption in Black communities we created together. We’ll use that report as a jumping off point for a deeper conversation about race and racism in media and how Beneficial Media can and must be anti-racist. You can register here to attend. These are conversations that we will continue to host and if you have suggestions for possible topics, drop them in the comments below. We hope these discussions can be the beginning of a broader movement toward Beneficial Media.
More to come. Stay safe and healthy.