Roundtable invites public input on new recommendations to better support democracy
— Subbu Vincent, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
SANTA CLARA, CALIF., U.S., Nov. 2, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and its Journalism and Media Ethics Program announced the development of a set of principles that news platforms (social media and internet research companies that distribute news) can adopt to exercise ethical news distribution practices online.
The document is a set of recommendations from a cross-functional meeting of leaders from technology, journalism and academia, whose common interest is that the creation of information and its distribution must better serve democracy. The series of four roundtables took place between the summer of ’21 and ’22.
After defining the problem, defining key terminology and following an applied ethical approach, the group’s recommendations focused on the concept that news platforms and aggregators make their distribution mechanisms more transparent. The Markkula Center is seeking public comment on the recommendations until December. They can be viewed and commented on: https://bit.ly/NewsDistributionEthics
“Platforms that distribute news and information rarely collaborate, but they may hold the key to managing misinformation through social media,” said Don Heider, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.
“News is a public good, both for citizens and for communities around the world,” said Subramaniam Vincent, director of journalism and media ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. “As social networks, search and news aggregation platforms distribute information – sometimes personalized or influenced by the user’s network – the distribution of information carries and shapes public discourse and, therefore, has an impact on democracy.”
“The ability to disseminate content widely through social media has led to increased misinformation and polarization,” said Cheryl Thompson-Morton, director of the Black Media Initiative, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. “I hope this work leads to Black and community news outlets being more visible on platforms to protect our communities from misinformation.”
“Journalists, technologists, and platforms must work together to create information delivery systems that enable self-determination, that don’t harm our communities, and that enable the kinds of conversations essential to democracies,” said Connie Moon. Sehat, Hacks/General Hacker Researcher and Director, News Quality Initiative.
Vincent noted that content moderation receives considerable attention in the media, but news distribution happens every second. “Starting with an ethical foundation for news distribution, especially for democracies, is as critical as evolving content moderation policies for user-generated content,” Vincent added.
Transparency will help establish an oversight and accountability mechanism for responsible distribution of information. “Ultimately, monitoring will benefit everyday news consumers, as it potentially means less misinformation in the news, less stoked controversies that eat up airtime, and more clarity on sensitive topics,” said Vincent said.
The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics thanks Craig Newmark Philanthropies for supporting this project.
About the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
Founded in 1986 with a seed grant and initial endowment from Linda and A.C. “Mike” Markkula Jr., Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics brings the traditions of ethical thought to real-world issues. Beyond a full range of programs for the SCU community, the Center also serves professionals in fields ranging from business to healthcare, government to the social sector, offering innovative approaches to issues ranging from fake news to Protection of private life. Through its website and international collaborations, the Center brings ethical decision-making resources to a global audience. For more information, please visit: https://www.scu.edu/ethics/.
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara Univ.
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