The Design 4 Democracy Coalition is a growing group of democracy and human rights organizations around the world that is committed to ensuring that the technology industry embraces democracy as a core design principle. Coming from a diverse collection of regions, political ideologies and backgrounds, the Coalition is united in a shared commitment that technology platforms and products should help build a more just and democratic world. The public square is increasingly digital. More than ever, political views and identities are formed online. By developing a forum for coordination and support within the democracy community on technology issues, and by creating an institutional channel for communication between the democracy community and the tech industry, the Design 4 Democracy Coalition is working to strengthen democracy in the digital age.

News and Events

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Youtube Fact Checking Algorithms Mistakenly Tag Notre Dame Fire Videos with 9-11 Info

Youtube’s new fact checking algorithm, designed to provide viewers with factual information of videos that might have false or misleading information, has caught a snag. As videos of the recent burning of France’s Notre Dame cathedral surfaced on the streaming website, the algorithms began to display them with information from Encyclopedia Britannica about the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. While Youtube apologized for the embarrassing error, the incident demonstrates gaps in the company’s current system of fact checking response.

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The 9th Latin American Democracy Forum on “Challenges in Politics and Democracy in the Digital Era”

The 9th Latin American Democracy Forum in Mexico City focused on “Challenges in Politics and Democracy in the Digital Era” from April 4 – 5. The event covers themes from citizenship in the digital era, new technologies and electoral campaigns, tools for promoting an informed vote and promoting electoral transparency and accountability through new technologies. International IDEA participated in the panel on electronic voting and the discussion of questions related to concerns about security and secrecy of online voting, key considerations for design and implementation of e-voting and creating a favorable environment for new voting technologies.

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Google Cancels AI Ethics Board

A planned corporate advisory board on ethics in artificial intelligence has been canceled by Google after a wave of negative backlash over the past few months. The company had planned to include a few controversial figures on the board, which sparked outcry: transgender rights activists were upset about the inclusion of Heritage Foundation president Kay Cole James, while anti-war groups were upset about the inclusion of military drone company CEO Dyan Gibbens.

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Youtube Algorithms Allowed Promotion of False and Hateful Videos

Though Youtube has recently changed its algorithms for determining which videos are shown to viewers, eliminating recommendations for some toxic conspiracy videos on their site, it still receives criticism from advocates for tech-platform responsibility. A Bloomberg interview with former staff revealed that it had become clear by the beginning of 2018 that the company had allowed its video streaming website to automatically suggest videos containing false information or conspiracy theories to millions of viewers.

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Facebook Removes 65 Pages Connected to Pro-Duterte Propaganda Network

Ahead of the upcoming May elections in the Philippines, Facebook has removed 65 pages that it deemed propaganda primarily in favor of incumbent Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte or his administration and allies. These pages, which claimed or implied that they were run by regular Philippine citizens supporting the Duterte administration, were shown to be linked to the social media strategist for the president, Nic Gabunada. This is just the most recent action in Facebook’s new operational strategy to remove content which it deems to be inauthentic.