Multistakeholder Pledge: Digital Protection - Prevention of the Harmful Impact of Hate Speech, Misinformation, and Disinformation

Multi-stakeholder pledges - Cross-cutting

Multistakeholder Pledge: Digital Protection - Prevention of the Harmful Impact of Hate Speech, Misinformation, and Disinformation

Potential key outcomes

  • Stakeholders commit to taking measurable preventative and mitigation actions
  • Community and refugee-led organisations engaged and included in these efforts.
  • Humanitarian organisations engaged and included in these efforts.

Background

The rise of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech on digital platforms is causing real-world harm to the most vulnerable, especially refugees, displaced and stateless people.

These offline harms include xenophobia, racism, persecution, violence, killings. Misinformation, disinformation and hate speech can be a contributing factor of forced displacement. In the case of people who are already displaced, harms can include trafficking, exploitation, barriers to accessing rights and services.

Mis/disinformation has a particularly negative impact in humanitarian contexts and during election cycles. It can damage reputations and erode trust and legitimacy of organizations like UNHCR. It can hamper the ability to protect and support refugees, displaced and stateless people, threaten the physical security of humanitarian workers, and lead to a decrease in donor support and funds.

Data shows that mis/disinformation thrives in emergencies, in conflict and crisis contexts, where trusted information is vital and mitigations such as fact-checking come too late.

Understanding, mitigating and preventing these online harms are critical components to advancing GCR objectives. Yet, there are few (if any?) pledges advancing these areas. This pledge will complement and reinforce displacement/humanitarian aspect to the issue within other mechanisms including the UN Global Digital Compact and Code of Conduct on Information Integrity on Digital Platforms, as well as Member State regulations and standards, such as the EU’s Digital Services Act.

Pledge description

The pledge will increase the number of stakeholders who are taking action to prevent the harmful impact on displaced and stateless populations, and on humanitarian action, of mis/disinformation and hate speech on their platforms.

Actors, including the private sector, Governments, civil society and academia, will be asked to commit to mitigate and help prevent these harms through research, development and application of tools and interventions, consultation and partnership, especially with affected communities and humanitarian organizations.

The pledge is transformational in innovation (the first of its kind) and scale (large number of stakeholders especially from the tech sector), invoking a highly collaborative approach leveraging diverse insights, expertise and interventions.

Leadership

  • Member States (TBC) engaged and currently funding this type of work in the UN system
  • Humanitarian partners

Supported by UNHCR.

Contact details

Mike Walton - [email protected], Gisella Lomax - [email protected]

Calendar

  • 25 May: UN Security Council Protection of Civilians week: UNHCR co-hosting MDH side event
  • 22 June: ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment: UNHCR co-hosting side event on MDH
  • September 2023: UNGA side-event TBC – UNHCR participation?
  • October 2023: UNHCR event for practitioners, TBC