Disinformation is a significant problem that can have a negative impact on politics, health, and safety. The Hive Mind Launch in South Africa webinar provided tips, insights, and strategies for countering disinformation effectively. Hive Mind will inspire journalists and civil society to produce accurate information and increase information literacy in South Africa.
Professor Thuli Madonsela was our keynote speaker, and she shared a captivating insightful presentation.
“Anyone who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.’’ – Voltaire once said, and Professor Thuli expanded on this great quote.
She made examples of Hitler and Rwanda and how disinformation has caused harm and innocent lives were lost. She emphasized and explained how to navigate truth in the age of disinformation. Professor Thuli Madonsela elaborated on the untruths and her experience of dealing with untruths. Practicing transparency, cultivating enquiring minds, having ethical leadership codes, and constantly questioning the information one publishes or receives.
The spread of disinformation has become a major concern, but with the advent of social media, it has become easier to spread false information to a large audience. The rise of fake news websites has added to this problem, as these sites often present themselves as legitimate news sources. Hive Mind was created to counter disinformation and influence the civic space to prevent potential harm from occurring.
Hive Mind will surely do good and have a fantastic impact in South Africa. Hive Mind is a learning space for digital activists in pursuit of being more resilient, and networked, to obtain an organized Community of Practice, civil society, and communities will be more able to thrive online and counteract shrinking space phenomena. We help civil society actors to build their digital resilience. This is a space for learning and exchange of practice. Join our community and feel free to use high-quality educational materials and other resources.
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The research associates of Digital Forensic Research Lab gave a deeper explanation of the DFRLAB’s purpose, footprint, and objectives, including cultivating a global network of digital forensic analysts also known as the (#DigitalSherlocks) to combat disinformation.
Tessa Knight highlighted DFRLAB has a remarkable training course to identify, expose and explain disinformation and digital propaganda using Open Source techniques to build communities available to anyone who is in the media, academia, and civil society. DFRLAB aims to promote democracy, security, and correct policy and decision-making in technology. DFRLAB investigated the Put South Africans First movement and Operation Dudula, conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19, and human rights abuses in Sudan.
The panel discussion was well moderated by Duduzile Nyumbeka, and the panelists explored the topic of countering disinformation in the civic space. Phumzille Van Damme lamented that attention needs to be focused on Africa, being more vocal in the promotion of identifying disinformation as a threat. Policy initiatives and legislative responses to disinformation and limitations on digital rights must be amplified. The insightful panel discussion provided the audience with solutions to combat the spread of disinformation. Philasande Sokhela spoke about the need for social media regulations, holding institutions accountable to be implemented to curb hate speech and misinformation. We all have a responsibility to disseminate accurate information around the world and the onus is on us.
Content with headlines that were sensational and provocative, designed to attract clicks and shares on social media should often be questioned. As a society, we ought to verify if the content is designed to manipulate people's opinions and beliefs to bolster its false claims. The consequences of spreading disinformation can be severe. It can damage reputations, incite violence, and undermine the public's trust in the media. It is important for journalists to uphold professional standards and for social media platforms to take steps to curb the spread of false information.
In conclusion, the identification of disinformation serves as a reminder of the importance of media literacy and critical thinking skills, which Hive Mind is offering to equip societies around the world. It is up to all of us to be responsible consumers of information and help combat the spread of disinformation.
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* Hive Mind is an online learning hub for a global digital activism community, including activists, trainers, and civil society organizations. It offers free-of-charge self-paced courses, training, tools, and other helpful resources. Hive Mind is a part of TechSoup Network's Digital Activism Program, which is developed in collaboration with local partners.
⏯️ Hive Mind launch in South Africa webinar recording is available HERE: