At Google’s ‘Fighting Misinformation Online’ summit held in Brussels on the 26th October, trailblazing journalist and Nobel Prize laureate Maria Ressa delivered an inspiring keynote speech, highlighting disinformation tactics at play in the online world, and the solutions and approaches her team are adopting to counter the “polluting river” of misinformation.

The co-founder of Rappler, a leading Filipino digital news site, shared eye-opening facts and insights around the dangers of disinformation for our society and democracy, but also the extraordinary efforts being made to discredit and vilify female journalists around the world. 

Guests at the event also heard about key measures that are now in place to reduce the threat of misinformation and to promote trustworthy information in generative AI products – ranging from the launch of new tools to adapting policies – that ensure users have additional context around what they’re seeing online.

Watch Maria Ressa’s full keynote speech.

Maria Ressa, author of ‘How to Stand up to a Dictator’, was recognised for her courageous work in exposing and combating disinformation and misinformation in 2021, when she was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, making her the first Filipino and second journalist to ever receive the honour.

Key quotes from Maria’s speech

“What technology has shown us is that all of us around the world — regardless of language or culture — have far more in common than we have differences. We are all being manipulated the exact same way, through our amygdala… our emotions are targeted; fear, anger and hate. And that changes the way we look at the world and it changes the way we act.”Maria Ressa

“When content — the creation of journalism — was separated from distribution, we lost our distribution powers. That went to tech. But they abdicated responsibility. The second group that abdicated responsibility of protecting the public sphere was our government. For so long, we the citizens were unprotected.”

“Lies spread at least six times faster than facts[…]. The data we have from the Philippines shows that if you lace it [content] with fear, anger, and hate then it spreads even faster. We can change the way we act because of that.”

“We’ve found that inspiration spreads as fast as anger.”

Further reading…

The Chilling: Global trends in online violence against women journalists‘ is a 300 page book published by UNESCO in 2022, exposing some of the horrific statistics around the online and offline abuse suffered by women journalists, women researchers and women politicians.

Explore more…  

ITN Business’ upcoming programme ‘AI & Big Data: A Force for Good’ will explore AI’s transformative capabilities that are creating a positive impact and will feature contributions from thought leaders including the Alan Turing Institute, the Responsible Artificial Intelligence Institute and the Ada Lovelace Institute.