The Policy Download - Election misinformation special

This is the eighth issue of The Policy Download. It goes out weekly on a Friday and sums up the interesting and important things in digital and creative industries policy, politics and regulation. Mostly it'll focus on the UK. But this week I've gone big on the US.

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Interesting things this week
Every week I'll include the interesting stories and pieces of news from the week with some analysis. 
Misinformation in the US election 1 (link) - The Donald tweeted something totally mad (I know!) which Twitter hid behind a warning (good). A load of people clicked 'view', screenshotted the tweet and then tweeted the image without the warning. With the demands and forthcoming legislation in the UK and Europe for the blocking and removal of harmful content this flags how impossible the request is. Twitter do a good thing and a lot of users who probably think moderation is a good thing undermine it. Is that Twitter's to solve? Or should users be prevented from doing this? If so, how? And can the UK and the EU demand foreign companies censor foreign leaders? Answers on a postcard, and with a misinformation warning. 

Misinformation in the US election 2 (link) - Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican who is a big fan of QAnon, won a House seat in Georgia. A string of her tweets were flagged by Twitter for containing "disputed" and "misleading" content. That's obviously because she tweeted a load of totally mad things. But it does rather undermine the idea of legislating to prevent misinformation when elected representatives who do the legislating are spreading the misinformation. 

Misinformation in the US election 3 (link) - Various people and groups live streamed "election results" which were - you guessed it - totally fake. I won't labour the point, but this is so hard. Yes we don't want it to happen. But to prevent it requires us to remove the mostly frictionless freedom of the internet. And, I think, that has been more of a benefit to the world than a harm. Reasonable minds could I’m sure disagree. 

A reminder that the UK government and the EU are currently both progressing efforts to moderate the content on the internet. This is an important conversation and it's crucial your voice is heard. I'll keep you updated here but if you want some no-strings guidance on how to be heard, do please ping me an email: 
Consultations to note
Every week I'll include a rolling list of ongoing consultations and inquiries that you, your organisation or your clients might be interested in. 

Economics of music streaming - DCMS Select Committee (link) - opened 15/10/20, closing 16/11/20. 

Loot boxes in video games - DCMS (link) - opened 23/09/20, closing 22/11/20.

Artificial intelligence and intellectual property - Intellectual Property Office (link) - opened 07/09/20, closing 30/11/20.

National Data Strategy - DCMS (link) - opened 09/09/20, closing 02/12/20.

Living online: the long-term impact on wellbeing - COVID-19 Committee (link) - opened 28/10/20, closing 11/12/20) 

Digital Strategy for Scotland - Scottish Government (link) - opened 30/09/20, closing 23/12/20. 

Ads for in-game purchasing - Committee of Advertising Practice (link) - opened 05/11/2020, closing 28/01/21
Next week

On Monday the Public Accounts Committee is taking evidence from very senior DCMS officials on Improving Broadband. Expect them to get pressured on meeting the 2025 target, especially after Oliver Dowden refused to commit to it at his DCMS Select Committee session recently. Baroness Kennedy of Cradley has an oral question on support for freelancers who work in the entertainment and music industries.

On Tuesday the COVID-19 Committee are taking evidence on living online: the long-term impact on wellbeing from Ofcom, Carnegie UK Trust, Good Things Foundation and Leeds City Council. 

On Wednesday the International Trade Committee are taking evidence on the UK’s agreement with Japan, including from Sabina Ciofu, techUK’s Head of EU and Trade Policy. 

And you can have Thursday and Friday off! 

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The author
Ben Greenstone is the author of The Policy Download. During the day, Ben is a director at Taso Advisory, a public policy consultancy. Before this, Ben was an adviser to UK government ministers, including two ministers with responsibility for digital and the creative industries. You can get in touch with Ben at or, depending on what you're after. Ben tweets at @ben_greenstone.
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