Exploring online misinformation and disinformation in Asia Pacific
The impacts of false information on the internet are being acutely felt in Asia Pacific, which is home to some of the largest and fastest-growing online communities in the world – the region accounts for the majority of social media users in the world. In this report, we examine the experience of countries from the GSMA Leading Nations engagement (comprising Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Pakistan), which have seen rapid growth in misleading or inaccurate content online across a wide range of issues, including Covid-19. In this context, addressing false information online has become a priority for stakeholders in the information ecosystem in Asia Pacific and elsewhere.
With the amount of false information online set to grow further and delivery mechanisms likely to change as technology evolves, confronting this pressing challenge requires a ‘whole-of-society’ approach. In some cases, governments have created dedicated units to engage with stakeholders, monitor the spread of false information and conduct digital literacy campaigns to better equip citizens to navigate around false information. Citizens have a role to remain vigilant against false information and support stakeholders in their efforts. For their part, mobile operators are complying with country-specific laws and licence conditions while assisting their customers by promoting the proper use of technology.
This report examines the efforts of stakeholders as they seek to balance the impact of false information with the impact of various countermeasures to address the spread of misinformation and disinformation online. Targeted efforts by the appropriate stakeholders, specifically tailored towards false information online, have the potential to address the problem and cultivate a safer, more enriching digital experience for all internet users and, at the same time, mitigate the effects of overbroad countermeasures.