The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) announced on Wednesday that it was teaming up with European counterparts to combat online misinformation and disinformation through a new initiative called the “Public Spaces Incubator.”
According to a press release by the CBC, the main goal of the program is to tackle the “most threatening phenomena of our time” – online abuse and misinformation.
“This partnership of four of the world’s leading public broadcasters underlines our collective and common purpose to address one of the most threatening phenomena of our time — unfettered online abuse. Online spaces that are free from disinformation, misinformation, harassment and abuse are near extinction,” said CBC President Catherine Tait.
The program is spearheaded by the NGO New_Public which is a project by the University of Texas at Austin and the National Conference on Citizenship. Other public broadcasters joining the initiative include Belgium’s RTBF, Switzerland’s SGR SSR, and Germany’s ZDF.
Tait is currency on a cross-country tour to shore up support for the CBC, which has seen dwindling advertising revenue and a severe drop in readership over the last few years.
The Public Spaces Incubator will fund and develop alternative social platforms and spaces that are free from harassment and so-called disinformation. Information on the project is unclear, with the CBC saying the focus is on “serving public knowledge and creating positive social connections.”
This isn’t the first time that the CBC has partnered with international organizations to police misinformation online.
As reported by True North in 2021, Facebook Canada picked CBC to be an election fact-checker tasked with monitoring competing media outlets.
In total, Facebook linked to three fact-checks by CBC journalists throughout that year’s election.
“When a fact checker rates a piece of content as false we significantly reduce its distribution so that fewer people can see it,” wrote Facebook. “We notify people who try to share the content or previously shared it that the information is false, and we apply a warning label that links to the fact checkers’ article disproving the claim.”
CBC has fallen afoul of its own journalistic standards on numerous occasions in the past, including for recently misleading Canadians on a Catholic fundraiser for residential school victims.