What does rising disinformation mean for cities?
Cities are increasingly faced with the consequences of concerted disinformation campaigns. These erode city capacity to address collective challenges including climate change, public health, and social cohesion. Yet disinformation research and response have been focused on the national and international realms. This research project understands how disinformation impacts cities, and how they can best collaborate to respond.
Disinformation and misinformation are nothing new in cities globally, with a long history of both sharing inaccurate information – misinformation, and concerted fabrications that are deliberately misleading – disinformation. From antisemitic campaigns to 9/11 conspiracies, there have been examples of disinformation throughout modern history. However, during the past decade, disinformation has exploded in both prevalence and impact.
City Response Playbook
Disinformation is impacting cities. In extraordinary times of rapid information sharing, distrust, and disruption, cities are on the front line of disinformation impact. Local authorities are the most accessible level of government to the people and they are tasked with leading communities through ever more complex societal and global challenges. In this unprecedented space, cities have requested a playbook to guide evidence-based responses to disinformation in the unique city context.
Understanding how disinformation spreads, and how to respond effectively, is increasingly critical for city governments tasked with leading and implementing effective collective decisions. Such information is constantly evolving, and responses are being developed and refined at various levels. Fact-checking labs have sprung up from Melbourne to Madrid. Disinformation registers and FAQ pages abound on the websites of electoral commissions and cyber-security agencies. Current knowledge, however, is focused primarily on the national and international realms and is not readily accessible and translatable for the specifics of city governance. This playbook will collate city experiences of disinformation, existing scholarship, and global responses, working with academics, city representatives, and other relevant organisations to translate this to the specific contextual framework within which cities operate.
Trijsburg, I. & Peucker, M. (2023) How disinformation is undermining out cities, Pursuit Magazine, The University of Melbourne.
Trijsburg, I., Idris, I. & Peucker, M. (2023) Disinformation in the City: The challenges facing Australian and Indonesian local governments, Monash Lens, Monash University.
ABC Radio: Big Ideas (Thursday 26 October, 2023) Speakers: Ika Idris, Zim Nwokora, Mario Peucker, Ika Trijsburg, Daniel Pejic, Susan Carland.