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CRUNCH 4.4: Understanding the increasing sophistication of misinformation & disinformation: how can we reframe the content agenda?

Date: 30 Sep 2021

Our CRUNCH series continues to be supported by our TAB partners, Xandr & Google

As the publishing landscape becomes progressively complex, how are consumers surfacing and recognising quality content and trusted sources? We joined industry experts at CRUNCH 4.4 to explore strategies for tackling harmful agendas and how we can collaborate as an industry to develop stronger solutions. It was a fascinating discussion, but here are just some of the key points… 


  • The Global Disinformation Index estimates that over US$235 million in ad revenue inadvertently funded hate speech. And that’s a conservative estimate. The challenge we’re facing is immense, and by tackling the issues independently, we lose the opportunity to collaboratively fine tune the solutions we need.
  • We have to move beyond the limiting dichotomy of ‘true’ and ‘false’ when thinking about the internet – it has to factor in intent. A website proclaiming ‘Immigrant Crimes’ may be entirely true stories, but it’s intentionally creating a hostile narrative. And if media can convince you to buy a shampoo, then it can convince you to buy into harmful ideologies as well.
  • Publishers need to increase awareness internally about the harmful narratives that are being propagated. This will enable great awareness about which stories could be used later as ‘proof’ for harmful or far right narratives.
  • Media literacy is critical, and should be a major focus. We can’t tell people what to think or who to believe, but we can work to give them the tools they need to decide for themselves.
  • It’s extraordinarily hard for marginalised groups to share a counternarrative – it feeds into a belief that they’re spreading their own disinformation campaign, and allies who support them are seen as ‘traitors’. Prevention is critical and will be far more effective than any reactive response.

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Marie Helly

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Steve Chester edit

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Charlotte Dewar

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Iman Atta

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Harriet K Ingaby

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The Conscious Advertising Network


Rita Jabri Markwell

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