Open government

Understanding disinformation to develop better policy responses: OECD partners with the GovLab on the 100 Questions Initiative


The sharp rise in disinformation

The sharp rise in disinformation around the world, which has been especially significant during the new Coronavirus pandemic, poses fundamental challenges to public governance. From the health of countries’ media and information ecosystems, to public trust, to the integrity of democratic processes, the consequences of disinformation are multiple and serious.


Despite a rapidly evolving field for research and analysis of the various social, technological, and political dimensions of this problem, disinformation is still a relatively poorly understood phenomenon. More significantly, policy solutions that are effective at scale while also preserving open and free information ecosystems remain elusive.

Developing responses to disinformation

To help address this evidence gap and develop better responses to disinformation, the OECD Open Government Unit is collaborating with The GovLab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering on The 100 Questions Initiative. The initiative “seeks to map the world’s 100 most pressing, high-impact questions that could be answered if relevant datasets were leveraged in a responsible manner” and focuses on ten priority challenges, including disinformation.

During the first phase of this initiative the OECD and the GovLab brought on board a cohort of over 100 “bilinguals”, meaning experts and practitioners in the field of disinformation who also have data science skills, to collaboratively define ten key questions to answer with new and existing data and approaches.


On 16 July 2020, the second phase of the project was kicked off with an online briefing and discussion among the 100+ experts that opens the floor to sourcing the priority questions for this domain. Between July and September, the bilinguals formulated and submitted their questions, ahead of a ranking and refining process that produced a set of final questions for public vote. Having clustered well over 100 individual questions received from the bilinguals through an iterative process, the final 10 questions have been put online for public voting until the end of March 2021 on the 100 Questions website:


Subsequent phases of the initiative will involve matching data to the selected questions and establishing data collaboratives that will work to find the answers.


Further information

The OECD Open Government Unit is developing new policy analysis in the field public communication and media ecosystems, by gathering evidence on the ways governments are responding to disinformation and using communication to increase citizens’ trust and participation. In this context, it is focusing on holistic approaches to combat disinformation that include actions on better communication, media literacy, or support for the media.





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