The RSS has contributed to an inquiry by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee into 'fake news'.
The select committee sought to identify what 'fake news' is and where biased (but legitimate commentary) becomes propaganda and lies. It asked for evidence on what impact fake news has on public understanding of the world, and whether there is any difference in the way people of different ages, social backgrounds, genders etc use and respond to it.
Lastly, the inquiry solicited opinions on whether changes in advertising have had an impact on the growth of fake news.
The RSS response highlighted a number of key points summarised as follows:
- Given that social media companies use algorithms to select the news that we see, they need to give less credence to untrustworthy sources.
- Targeted online and social media political advertising should be more transparent.
- We need to ensure sustained funding for independent statistical authorities and fact-checkers to reputably challenge inaccurate claims.
- There should be closer coordination with the UK Statistics Authority and the Office for National Statistics to anticipate the information that the public will want in the run up to an election or referendum.
- There should be high editorial standards at news organisations with training and support for journalists.
- More maths and stats education in schools would support critical understanding of statistics.