An Aspen Institute commission, warning that “information disorder” is being fueled by a “crisis of trust and truth,” has called for an array of actions to combat the problem—many aimed at improving transparency around social media platforms’ practices.

The Nov. 15 report from the Commission on Information Disorder also focused on the importance of building trust in institutions that can support informed public discourse and debate.

The report’s transparency recommendations included appeals for legislation to extend legal protection to certain journalism and research projects that involve the automated collection of public platform data, and to require the platforms to disclose certain private data to qualified researchers. 

The commission also urged Congress to require social media platforms to create a public archive of data on high-reach content, to disclose information about their content moderation policies and practices, and to archive moderated content, as well as to mandate that social media companies regularly disclose key information about every digital ad and paid post that runs on their platforms. 

The commission was formed last spring with co-chairs journalist Katie Couric, cybersecurity expert Chris Krebs, and racial equity leader Rashad Robinson. The commission’s 18 members included Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute’s executive director, as well as Alex Stamos of Stanford University; Yasmin Greene, director of research and development for Jigsaw; and Deb Roy, CEO of MIT’s Media Lab. 

After the Aspen report was published, Jaffer talked with ​John Sands, ​​senior director, media and democracy, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. View the conversation below: