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UN Urges Tech Giants to Shoulder Responsibility for Information Integrity

The UN Secretary-General calls on tech firms to take responsibility for information integrity amid global principles launch
June 27, 2024

In a bold call to action, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has demanded that tech companies take accountability for the negative impacts of their business practices on information integrity.

Speaking at the launch of the UN's Global Principles for Information Integrity, Guterres emphasized the urgent need for tech firms to recognize and address the harm caused by their systems. "Take responsibility. Acknowledge the damage your products are inflicting on people and communities," urged Guterres during the recent press conference.

The principles, crafted through extensive consultations across UN member states, media, private sectors, and academia, outline a comprehensive framework aimed at fostering a more humane information ecosystem. Central to this framework are five pillars: societal trust and resilience, independent and free media, healthy incentives, transparency and research, and public empowerment.

Key recommendations within the framework include a shift away from complex and opaque online advertising models that exploit disinformation, and the introduction of clearer AI content labeling. Guterres highlighted the importance of transparency, urging companies to disclose advertising partners, clarify data storage practices, and enhance user control over personal data usage.

“No one should be at the mercy of an algorithm they don’t control, which was not designed to safeguard their interests, and which tracks their behaviour to collect personal data and keep them hooked" emphasized Guterres, stressing the need for AI companies to train models on unbiased, inclusive information sources. Furthermore, companies are encouraged to conduct third-party audits of their AI models and publicly share reports to mitigate misinformation risks.

In his address, Guterres also appealed to governments to safeguard independent media, supporting journalists in upholding editorial standards rooted in factual accuracy and public interest.

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