Barriers and Opportunities

Despite the wide array of efforts by different actors, the conditions fueling the feedback loop between digital misinformation and the erosion of social cohesion remain active. Diverse stakeholder groups find this state of affairs unacceptable, unstable, or unsustainable, and there has been widespread acknowledgement that transformational change is needed at the systemic level to shift the current trajectory. But, there are many barriers.

In particular, the diversity of powerful and competing interests involved, the key tensions around fundamental rights, responsibilities and roles implicated, and a climate of increasing polarisation, are inhibiting the kinds of dialogue, partnerships, and collaboration required. These circumstances are hindering key stakeholders from creating a shared view of what is happening, or what could or should happen, for the system to move forward.

This presents us with an opportunity to create a response that:

1. Focuses collective attention around the question of social cohesion in order to:

  • attend explicitly to the feedback loop between digital misinformation and social cohesion as a core concern (rather than positioning it as a potential outcome from focusing on other concerns),
  • broaden our thinking about the most crucial problems and solutions beyond the digital space, 
  • convene, enroll, and empower a much wider network of stakeholders working with information ecosystems, peacebuilding, and affected domains. 

2. Creates the grounds for transformative systems change by:

  • reimagining who we think of as key stakeholders and bringing them together to collaborate,
  • extending our thinking to the future,
  • naming systemic barriers and divergent interests and addressing them creatively,
  • creating synergy among different strategies across issues and sectors, 
  • incubating and accompanying change initiatives.

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